In today's smartphone world, data usage is on the rise. Combine that with the fact that unlimited data plans are long gone on the two biggest carriers, you end up with the a data-strapped consumer. *In fact, according to AT&T themselves, "<mobile data traffic on AT&Ts network increased more than 30,000% over the last six years and is expected to continue growing." AT&T solution to this issue? *Sponsored data.

This doesn't mean what you think it means. *Sadly this isn't you watch a video advertisement and you get a set amount MB of data for free. *What the goal is here that if you are navigating to an advertisers page or using a service, the provider of that content will pay for the data used during that session.

<blockquote>With the new Sponsored Data service, data charges resulting from eligible uses will be billed directly to the sponsoring company; the customer simply enjoys their content via AT&Ts wireless data network. Customers will see the service offered as AT&T Sponsored Data...The Sponsored Data service allows sponsors across a variety of industries such as healthcare, retail, media and entertainment and financial services with the opportunity to *better engage with customers and their own employees. * This exciting new service offers data sponsors many potential innovative uses such as:

<ul>[*]Encouraging customers to try a new smartphone or tablet app.[*]Promoting movie trailers or games.[*]Providing patient healthcare support via wellness videos.[*]Encouraging customers to browse mobile shopping sites.[*]Allowing businesses with ‘Bring Your Own Device policies to pay for the data employees use for specific business-related apps and services.[*]Enhancing customer loyalty programs by providing sponsored data access to products and services.[/list]
Customers love mobile content. Whether its shopping, banking, entertainment or personal wellness, mobile content is increasingly available for customers almost anywhere and anytime. * * And thats 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,"</blockquote></p>

It's an interesting concept and I can't wait to see if it takes off. *I'm hoping the end game here is a choice subsidized data plan with ads. *Much like you can buy cheaper Kindle Fire's from Amazon if you are willing to see an ad on your lock screen like that but it gives you an extra free GB on your monthly data allotment. *I know a lot people wouldn't go for it but I think it's brilliant idea...What about you?