Now the issue of sponsored data plans is emerging. This is when a data service provider (think: T-Mobile, AT&T, etc.) subsidizes a popular service to convince more customers to hire their company.
In the case of T-Mobile, the cell phone company “zeroes out” the cost of transmitting data from entertainment providers such as Google Play Music, Soundcloud, and Xbox Music. In other words, customers with sponsored data plans get more for their money, because data coming from sponsored entertainment sources is free to the end user, allowing consumers to consume more data from non-sponsored sources in addition to the data they use in accessing sponsored sources.
For example, if a customer’s cell phone company partnered with ESPN, that customer could stream all the live games and get all the sports news they wanted, without using any of their normal data allotment. Zero-rating some data gives consumers an incentive to venture out and surf the Internet more, because it lowers the overall cost to them.
According to the legislation on net neutrality, the FCC is able to delegate market interference if they determine a data service provider is “unreasonably interfering with or unreasonably disadvantaging” its clients’ access to internet.
Stay tuned, folks. What seems harmless at first could spiral into an FCC takeover.