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Thread: FCC May Intervene Over AT&T's Sponsored Data Program Due to Anticompetitive Nature

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  1. #1
    MMi Staff Writer Akshay Masand's Avatar
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    Default FCC May Intervene Over AT&T's Sponsored Data Program Due to Anticompetitive Nature


    AT&T which was likely hoping its new Sponsored Data plan would capture the attention of cost-conscious consumers has instead caught the eye of the FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. Speaking at CES 2014, Wheeler said he would look closely at AT&Tís new program that promises to give consumers access to free data in exchange for using the sponsorís services or apps. The sponsoring company would then cover the costs of the data used by these customers. He had the following to say regarding the matter:

    My attitude is: letís take a look at what this is, letís take a look at how it operates. And be sure, that if it interferes with the operation of the internet; that if it develops into an anticompetitive practice; that if it does have some kind of preferential treatment given somewhere, then that is cause for us to intervene.
    As appealing as free data for consumers might seem, it would be fairly easy for the program to turn anticompetitive. The program may result in promoting the apps and services of the companies that have the cash to buy data while shutting out the smaller companies and startups that donít.

    How do you feel about the Sponsored Data program and its potential anticompetitive nature?

    Source: The Verge

    Twitter: @AkshayMasand

  2. #2
    iPhone? More like MyPhone Breezy215's Avatar
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    I think that one way or another, you'll still be coming out of pocket...

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    Livin the iPhone Life Carvensno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Breezy215 View Post
    I think that one way or another, you'll still be coming out of pocket...
    I agree! There's no such thing as a free lunch. I would like the FCC go after them, to make them provide all services equal. Like tethering/hotspot for grandfathered unlimited data. Every thing now is family/mobile share, I can't even change my minute plan because it's individual plan which I'm now grandfathered in also.

  4. #4
    iPhone? More like MyPhone kosher1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carvensno View Post
    I agree! There's no such thing as a free lunch. I would like the FCC go after them, to make them provide all services equal. Like tethering/hotspot for grandfathered unlimited data. Every thing now is family/mobile share, I can't even change my minute plan because it's individual plan which I'm now grandfathered in also.
    Who is forcing you to stay with them?

  5. #5
    Green Apple
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    AT&T's policies here are evil.

    Just like they do with tethering ("Here's 2.5GB of data... but if you use it THIS way, you have to pay an extra $20") they're now trying to create another additional revenue stream based on something they don't provide anymore - unlimited data. "Hey, we're not going to offer unlimited data anymore, but if Facebook's willing to front the bill, we'll offer you unlimited Facebook." And then they have a customer paying for data service on one end, and Facebook paying to offer a "feature" on the other end.

    It's anti-competitive on its face. Let's say you have App A and App B. App A is technically better, but App B is backed by a big company or some form of big money. App A is wildly popular, but causes a whole bunch of AT&T customers to get data overage charges. App B pays AT&T and advertises "hey, we do the same thing, but we're free on AT&T" and let's say that Verizon jumps on the bandwagon too. Now you have a situation where a technically better, more popular app is threatened not by a better idea, but by economics of an internet that's no longer an even playing field, but rather becomes an environment of virtual class warfare. It's incredibly anti-competitive and anti-innovation.

    Meanwhile, you have carriers like T-Mobile and Sprint that simply offer unlimited data no matter the sender or receiver. If AT&T turns this into a revenue stream, what will those providers do? Assuming they jumped on the bandwagon of content providers funding bandwidth, the only thing they'd have to offer (since they already provide unlimited to customers) would be preferential Quality of Service (i.e. someone trying to access Facebook, for instance, has higher priority to airwaves and bandwidth than someone trying to access a smaller business website). So, back to the above scenario - App A has to compete with the fact that App B is free on all networks and has better data QoS on some networks, while App A can't afford to buy the freedom & QoS. The carriers essentially help App B to snuff out App A.

    Essentially, to sum this up... this may be the beginning of the end for net neutrality if the FCC doesn't put a stop to this before it begins.

  6. #6
    My iPhone is a Part of Me
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    AT&T has been trying to do this for decades. Back when dial up came out, there was a potential for 50mbps over dialup, the phone companies didn't want the end user to have access to that service unless companies paid more to have their service on the higher speed and if you didn't pay, you'd be on the lower dialup speed. It's clear that AT&T doesn't believe in net neutrality. This current attempt would no doubt lead back to that again.

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    Well, I have three upgrade-eligible grandfathered Unlimited AT&T line on a family plan and I can get a lot more by selling those lines.

  8. #8
    Green Apple
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    We are way behind in speed for the cost wake up people. Take no crap demand better service for the price we all pay.
    More money for less stuff that people don't really use.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by IChi1d View Post
    We are way behind in speed for the cost wake up people. Take no crap demand better service for the price we all pay.
    More money for less stuff that people don't really use.
    What are you saying that actually relates to the article?

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    Livin the iPhone Life Carvensno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosher1 View Post
    Who is forcing you to stay with them?
    I'm not leaving! Just saying. Besides where I live sprint and T Mobile do not have good coverage.

  11. #11
    iPhoneaholic
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    AT&T have tried every evil plan from A to Y. What will they think of next? ;-)

    http://mobile.theverge.com/2014/1/6/...ampaign=Buffer

  12. #12
    Green Apple
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    If this is allowed to continue it'll be the death knell of net neutrality. Hopefully the FCC keeps a close eye on them and Verizon. If I had T-Mobile or Sprint in my area I'd jump to them in a heartbeat.

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    You cant vote right-wing then complain about this stuff! its hilarious to watch.

    There contention has and will always be;
    - This is America, "dog eat dog" capitalism Rules!
    - AT&T is a private company that spends Billions on spectrum and network build outs, they have to recoup those dollars
    - Start-ups that can't afford sponsored data? To bad! Not all of us can afford to go to Nobu or Spago
    - Don't like the rates? Go to T-mobile or Sprint and enjoy lower overall network quality
    - Want "equity" and socialism? Move to another country that supports it.
    - Luckily Obama's FCC/DOJ saved T-Mobile or AT&T would've gobbled it (Prez McCain or Romney? T-Mo would be ghost!)

    If all of that (except the last item) seems heartless and makes you angry then why continue to vote right-wing?
    Bottom-line; ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES! Now lets clean up that House. Sayin...
    Last edited by Lohand; 01-10-2014 at 06:23 AM.

  14. #14
    iPhone? More like MyPhone RoloDiva13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lohand View Post
    You cant vote right-wing then complain about this stuff! its hilarious to watch.

    There contention has and will always be;
    - This is America, "dog eat dog" capitalism Rules!
    - AT&T is a private company that spends Billions on spectrum and network build outs, they have to recoup those dollars
    - Start-ups that can't afford sponsored data? To bad! Not all of us can afford to go to Nobu or Spago
    - Don't like the rates? Go to T-mobile or Sprint and enjoy lower overall network quality
    - Want "equity" and socialism? Move to another country that supports it.
    - Luckily Obama's FCC/DOJ saved T-Mobile or AT&T would've gobbled it (Prez McCain or Romney? T-Mo would be ghost!)

    If all of that (except the last item) seems heartless and makes you angry then why continue to vote right-wing?
    Bottom-line; ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES! Now lets clean up that House. Sayin...
    Only statement I have a problem with IS the last one. Funny how Americans want the country that has capitalism as its backbone to prosper but when Big Co. A wants to buy Smaller Co. B its "anti competition" and "not fair" and all kinds of other fake consumer nonsense (AT&T/TMo acquisition). Capitalism ISN'T FAIR, ppl. If At&t wants to offer sponsored data and Business A can afford to engage in it but Business B can't then sucks to be Business B; they'll have to find other ways to attract customers.

    I just don't think that businesses that have endured and grown and prospered over decades should be penalized because Joe Schmo down the street with his "start up" hasn't worked hard enough and long enough to compete on the same playing field.

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