Thursday, February 18, 2016

Blocking Sponsored Data Programs Also Blocks Innovation, Limits Consumer Benefit

Anti-competitive behavior by Internet service providers might be said to be a theme for many who oppose zero rating or sponsored data.

Ironically, rules banning zero rating or sponsored data actually work to reduce access options for consumers who either cannot afford--or do not wish to buy--full mobile data usage plans, Syntonic argues.

“Connecting the unconnected is really important,” says Gary Greenbaum, Syntonic CEO.

Also, different methods for furnishing Internet access in new venues, ranging from automobiles to wearable devices and wide variety of Internet of Things apps, might be blocked if zero rating or sponsored data is outlawed, Greenbaum argues.

In other words, “all or nothing,” “one size fits all” access models do not work, argues Syntonic. Syntonic Wireless “urges the Commission to avoid prophylactic rules that would prohibit the creation of new, potentially consumer-friendly products and services.”

For consumers, sponsored content increases the value of a wireless subscription, by offering additional content that the consumer may enjoy in addition to whatever data is consumed under the consumer’s traditional monthly data plan, Syntonic argues.

Consumers can also “sample” sponsored content without the risk that they are stuck paying for a suboptimal product or service.

And technophobic consumers who are unsure whether to purchase a mobile broadband service can potentially access a broad array of sponsored content on a minimal data plan, to decide whether to upgrade to a more comprehensive service.

Consumers should have access to all lawful applications, just as service providers, app providers and brands should be free to innovate with new business models that deliver more consumer value, at less direct cost to those consumers.

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