AT&T‘s plan to let individual companies sponsor your mobile data when accessing their services ran into trouble this week when the FCC said it might look into claims the that “sponsored data” could prove a threat to net neutrality. Today, the carrier issued an official statement defending its new plan.
“AT&T’s sponsored data service is aimed solely at benefiting our customers,” said Jim Cicconi, AT&T senior executive vice president of External and Legislative Affairs, adding that the carrier’s goal is to help its subscribers save money. “We see no reason why this is not a good thing. Also, we are completely confident this offering complies with the FCC’s net neutrality rules, which our company supports.”
The carrier’s plan essentially lets a company like Facebook, Spotify or Netflix pay for the data you use to access their service from a mobile device, potentially lowering your monthly bill. But some have expressed concern the plan could threaten net neutrality. Not every company can afford to sponsor your data, meaning startups would have a hard time signing up new mobile customers if an established competitor already offered a similar service with sponsored data.
Whether AT&T’s sponsored data will become a reality is unclear. There’s still no guarantee that the FCC will investigate the plan, though clearly the carrier is ready to defend itself if necessary.