AT&T has announced a new sponsored data program that allows companies to cover data charges for select services. For instance, if your bank becomes a sponsored company on AT&T, they could cover all data charges used on your mobile banking app. This means that if you’re on a tiered data plan, the usage accumulated on your banking app wouldn’t bite into your plan. This service will not need to be activated and will be featured at the same speed as all other content.

AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega said the following on the plan:

Customers love mobile content. Whether it’s shopping, banking, entertainment or personal wellness, mobile content is increasingly available for customers almost anywhere and anytime. And that’s what makes this a win-win for customers and businesses – customers just look for the Sponsored Data icon and they know the data related to that particular application or video is provided as a part of their monthly service,

When used properly, this service can be put to some really awesome uses (hello YouTube!). Amazon and other online retailers could also pick up this service to give their customers more incentives to shop on-the-go. But, it’s also hard to not see this as a money grab from a Telco trying to get paid on both ends of a data deal.

These data companies have been complaining for years that the Googles and Apples of the world aren’t paying their fair share of the internet toll, and this seems like the first step towards shifting the burden towards companies who make a living in an online world. When you consider that most people don’t use their entire data plan allotment on a month to month basis, it’s pretty obvious that these types of programs generally aren’t needed, considering you can get unlimited broadband plans, and even unlimited data plans in some countries.

Photo Source: zombieite