AT&T reveals plan to charge developers for data

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AT&T (NYSE:T) is working on a service that would make app developers pay the wireless carrier directly for some of the data used by app consumers, according to the Wall Street Journal. AT&T's head of technology John Donovan, who spoke to the WSJ Monday, compared the service to a toll free number.

"A feature that we're hoping to have out sometime next year is the equivalent of 800 numbers that would say, if you take this app, this app will come without any network usage," said Donovan.

Users with monthly data caps are often wary of using apps and viewing content that consume large amounts of data. Donovan explained that the service would allow app developers to absorb some of the cost of the extra data usage, incentivizing users to download and use data-heavy apps more regularly.

Donovan added that this service would be possible as AT&T continues its rollout of LTE. "What they're saying is, why don't we go create new revenue streams that don't exist today and find a way to split them," he said.

A move like this isn't without consequences. If data-heavy app companies decide to make use of this service, their costs will increase. The app developers will, in turn, raise prices to cover those costs. As a result, users will end up absorbing those costs.

For more:
- see this Wall Street Journal article (sub. req.)
- see this Slash Gear article

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