Free data plans are new and innovative services that give you “free” content as part of your existing wireless data plan. Free data means you can explore websites, download apps or stream movies and music without it counting against your data plan. Free data allows you to enjoy more of what you want, when you want it, without impacting your existing data plan. That’s free data. It’s simple: free data plans let you expand your online activities at no extra cost.
Like most innovative offerings, there are lots of different options! You may be given free data by your provider when you access particular content or websites – meaning you don’t have to do anything to take advantage of the offering. You may see a symbol or other indicator when you access free data content, or you may be informed that all data consumed using a particular application is free. Free data offers you more data than you otherwise would get under normal data plans without incurring any additional cost, hassles or worries, and you are in charge of choosing whether or not to take advantage of these offers.
Some free data is offered by the mobile operator as a way to attract you to its service. Other free data plans allow companies to sponsor your data meaning that they pay for the data you use when accessing their sponsored content so it doesn’t come out of your data plan. This is no different than an 800 number that lets you make a call for free because the company you are calling pays for the call instead. Plenty of businesses provide free services to attract customers. Just look at Amazon with its free shipping or coffee shops with free Wi-Fi. Even conventional broadcast TV is free to watch because advertisers pay for the programming. Like free data, all of these examples involve someone other than you paying for a service that you enjoy.
We must act now to protect these free data plans from regulators and policymakers in Washington. It is up to us to encourage companies to do even more to provide us with even smarter ways to satisfy our growing mobile appetite. Our goal is to make sure these offerings are left to grow and evolve, just like the Internet we all love and rely upon every day.
So join us in letting Washington know how much free data plans matter to you!