Reporting that the pilot phase of the new program was just days away from reaching certain markets, Verizon Wireless — the nations’ largest 4G LTE telecommunications service provider — recently announced plans to introduce its own free ‘sponsored’ data program to the masses.
Speaking with Re/code, Verizon VP of consumer affairs, Marni Walden, indicated that the company has partnered with several advertising sponsors for the testing phase, and that the company intends and hopes to release the program to all its customers sometime in 2016.
“The capabilities we’ve built allow us to break down any byte that is carried across our network and have all or a portion of that sponsored. We’ll be out in a larger commercial way in the first quarter of 2016,” according to Walden as reported by Re/code.
Sponsored data will reportedly enable Verizon customers to access certain web-based content without the consumption in any way affecting their existing data allowances. The feature works very similar to the concept of toll-free calling that has been around for years now.
On the other hand, however, certain industry insiders and net neutrality advocates have been skeptical about the concept of offering sponsored data to customers, because it affords companies with hefty cash reserves — such as Verizon — a competitive edge over the open web.
AT&T Wireless has already been hard at work on bringing a similar feature to market for years now, although they have not succeeded in doing so.
Even still, it will be interesting to see what Verizon’s sponsored data has to offer customers in the long haul, wouldn’t you agree? I mean, Data plans can run a pretty penny, after all, and, although ‘sponsored data’ will almost certainly entail the presence of advertisements embedded within content to some extent, it’d still be nice to access a few forms thereof — whatever they may be — without dipping into those precious gigabytes of yours, wouldn’t it?
What do you think about Verizon’s plan to launch sponsored data? Would you view more ads to prolong your data reserve each month?