Telefonica floats plan to bill search engines for data

Telefonica is mulling a change to its data pricing policies that would place the burden of payment on the sender of that data, rather than the consumer.

In a repeat of the US “net neutrality” controversy, the carrier complains that internet search engines pay nothing for the bandwidth used and wants to, and could be a key step in ensuring consistent income as consumers increase their data consumption by streaming media content via fixed and mobile broadband networks.
Chairman Cesar Alierta told Spanish broadcaster ETB that search engines are enjoying a “lucky break” by not having to pay carriers directly, despite the fact the carriers have built the networks and handle customer care and acquisition. “This will change, I’m sure of that,” he said.
One vendor offering a data billing service is Silicon Valley-based mobile transaction firm mBlox ,which launched its Sender Pays Data product last year.
Executive chairman Andrew Bud says the concept is similar to SMS, where the person sending the message pays. He says the present situation is akin to paying your post office to receive your mail, and that networks are effectively “investing to make other people rich.”
Carriers should benefit by being able to offer transparent pricing, which in turn would encourage more people to use mobile data by removing any nasty shocks in their monthly bills.