AT&T will let media companies and other partners cover the cost of delivering some data over the carrier's mobile network, letting subscribers click on videos and other content without worrying about their monthly data caps.
The Sponsored Data service, announced on Monday at an AT&T developer conference held alongside the International CES in Las Vegas, sets up a new way for the carrier to get paid for delivering data over its network. AT&T compared it to free shipping for online purchases or free voice numbers for customer service, such as the 800 numbers widely used in the U.S.
In this case, revenue to AT&T from the sponsoring companies would help to cover the cost of building and running its growing mobile network. The program could also encourage more overall data use, all of it paid for in one way or another.