According to the Wall Street Journal, AT&T is said to be tinkering with a service that would put a new tab on app developers. That is, the devs would pay the wireless carrier for some of the data used by app consumers for things like streaming movies and smartphone applications.
John Donovan, the executive responsible for AT&T's network and technology, compares the service to "toll-free calling for the mobile-broadband world."
"A feature that we're hoping to have out sometime next year is the equivalent of 800 numbers that would say, if you take this app, this app will come without any network usage," Donovan was quoted as saying in the WSJ.
Carriers have been considering different pricing models for years as they look for ways to make more money from skyrocketing mobile-data use. But AT&T's approach would be novel, an attempt to push some of the cost of data traffic back onto the Internet companies and other service providers that profit from it.
If and when such a service would debut still isn't known (beyond the general time-frame of "maybe next year"). But it likely will be talked about within the developer community until then.