Fueling the fire surrounding the likelihood of toll-free data coming to the U.S. market soon, Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo told investors at a Barclays Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications conference today that content providers are starting to see the value in paying the wireless operator for the data consumed by their subscribers when they view their content via a mobile device.
Now that it's owned by T-Mobile US, MetroPCS has decided to drop its lawsuit against the FCC's net neutrality rules for wireless and wired networks, leaving Verizon Wireless as the sole challenger to the rules.
Just days after reports circulated that ESPN was in talks with a Tier 1 wireless operator about potentially subsidizing consumer access to the company's content via mobile, AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson told investors at a J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference that he expects content and app developers to soon introduce new types of business models that will allow customers to get access to their content without racking up high data usage bills.
Sports media giant ESPN has talked with at least one large U.S. carrier about subsidizing wireless access to its content, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal . The discussions could lead to a "toll-free" data plans with carriers and open up new revenue streams for both parties.
Verizon Wireless is so far ahead of its competitors in terms of its LTE network coverage and quality that it will be a significant period of time before the other Tier 1 carriers are on the same level, according to Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam. "I think at this point the various carriers with their network initiatives are playing catch up," he said.
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Wireless carriers have been buzzing about the potential of toll-free data plans. I'm not saying that such plans cannot happen or will not happen. However, there are clearly technical and commercial hurdles to making toll-free plans a reality. All of this and more is explored in a new feature I've written on the topic .
It was as much a staple of the 1990s as grunge music and the Slinky: toll-free numbers. The numbers, usually of the 1-800 variety, allowed callers to place no-charge telephone calls to businesses and other entities. And now, the concept of toll-free connections is being revived, albeit haltingly, for the 21 st century: enter the "toll-free" data plan.
AT&T ( NYSE:T ) CEO Randall Stephenson said he believes "toll free" data plans, which would exclude certain types of content from counting toward a customer's monthly data allotment, likely will
Verizon Wireless' ( NYSE:VZ ) LTE network gives it the ability to create new and differentiated kinds of data plans, including ones where content providers could pay Verizon to take their content out