Free Wireless Data For Specific Apps

In many countries now, carriers are exempting certain apps from data charges. For example, even if you are on a pay-as-you-go data plan, the data that you use through the Facebook app on your phone will not count. You have unlimited access to Facebook free-of-charge.

Although I had been aware of specific cases, I had not know of a source with more comprehensive information. This data has now become available through Allot Communications (Summary on GigaOM).

Some things that I find interesting;

  1. This is now available even in the US. AT&T even has a program where the content providers themselves pay the consumers’ data bills.
  2. 49% of carriers worldwide surveyed by Allot Communications have this kind of data exemption plan.
  3. Of these, 65% exempt Facebook.
  4. This increases ARPU (average revenue per user) for carriers and also reduced the churn rate, making it very attractive for carriers.

Some of my thoughts;

  1. If you were an e-commerce retailer, you would probably want to have your app included in the data exemption list. You might even be willing to pay for consumer’s data if the online purchases made up for it. In fact, there might be many e-commerce retailers who want to do this.
  2. As a carrier, you could choose to partner with only one e-commerce retailer if these retailers were poorly differentiated anyway. By doing this, you might get very favorable terms. You could even pre-install that retailers app on the smartphones that you sell.

My thinking is that carriers could profit quite a lot from this scheme.