Verizon said customers can now watch live football action through the NFL Mobile app without incurring data charges.
The nation’s biggest carrier launched zero-rated data through the app, which features live local and national-broadcast games such as Sunday night matchups and Monday Night Football. The offer is available to postpaid customers on Verizon’s LTE network, and activity such as downloading and browsing will continue to come out of users’ monthly data buckets.
Verizon also offers NFL Redzone, an app that delivers video highlights from every game, for $2 a month.
The move underscores an increasing eagerness on the part of mobile network operators to use zero-rated data to differentiate their offerings. AT&T recently began zero-rating content from DirecTV’s TV Everywhere apps, and earlier this year Sprint enabled customers to watch every live match of the Copa América Centenario soccer tournament on their phones without incurring data charges.
T-Mobile was the first U.S. carrier to experiment with the model with the launches of Music Freedom for streaming music and Binge On for streaming data. Verizon also offers FreeBee Data, which enables content providers or other parties to pay the cost of delivering content and services.
Verizon didn’t say whether the NFL is helping to pay the freight of delivering live video to football fans.
Zero-rated services have come under fire from net neutrality proponents who claim they allow deep-pocketed media companies to pay for access to mobile subscribers, giving them an unfair advantage over smaller players. The FCC has said it continues to review such offerings but has yet to intervene.
AT&T’s Glenn Lurie said last week he doesn’t expect regulatory backlash from the operator’s offer to zero-rate the data of AT&T wireless customers who access the company’s new DirecTV video app.
“We have no regulatory concerns about it. We feel very good about it from that aspect. We’re not prioritizing [data], we’re treating it all the same,” Lurie told FierceWireless on the sidelines of the CTIA Super Mobility trade show. Lurie is president and CEO of AT&T’s mobility and consumer operations. “So we’re not worried about that.”
Verizon hasn’t disclosed how many of its customers use the NFL Mobile app, but the promotion is sure to appeal to many football fans eager to watch games on the go. And carriers surely will continue to try to lure customers by giving them access to specific kinds of content without taking a toll on their monthly data allotments.
- see this Verizon web page
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