Perhaps learning from what T-Mobile’s Binge On feature has been going through (which is a lot), Verizon Wireless is more careful in introducing its own take on a service that allows subscribers to stream or downloading without having to worry about it eating away at their data allowances. The service is called FreeBee Data, and the biggest wireless carrier in the United States just released a beta version of the feature just recently. Last month, it was reported that Verizon was planning to launch sponsored data features this year, and it appears that the wireless carrier is making good on that promise.
Basically, FreeBee Data feature is a service that lets the Big Red’s subscribers to consume specific types of content via mobile means, like music streams, video content, downloads, and mobile apps, among many others, without affecting their data allotment every month. How is this possible, one might ask? Well, Verizon Wireless makes clever use of an arrangement called sponsored data, in which the data being used by the subscriber is sponsored by the providers of the content being consumed.
Verizon Wireless actually offers two variants of its FreeBee Data service. The first one is called FreeBee Data 360 and it essentially allows content providers pay for the data used in their mobile app or website. The amount of payment is computed using a per gigabyte pricing structure. In this variant, Verizon’s subscribers are free to consume content and mobile services from a specific list of providers with no effect on their plan’s data allowances whatsoever.
The other variant of the service has the content providers sponsor the data used by the subscriber based on a per click system. In this arrangement, the providers will pay for every video clicked (played) or every mobile app tapped (downloaded). Like the FreeBee Data 360 model, subscribers need not worry about losing any megabyte out of their data allowances.
As mentioned earlier, FreeBee Data 360 is made available by Verizon Wireless in beta mode, and it is only being offered to commercial customers. As for the per click model, it will go live starting on January 25th of this year, with the trial phase offered to only a thousand subscribers of the Big Red, and will include brand partners such as AOL, GAMEPLAY, and Hearst Magazines, just to name a few. But wait -- how does one which links or videos are covered with the FreeBee Data feature? These will be marked with a pay per click bee icon.
Verizon Wireless is not actually the first network provider to think of offering a sponsored data feature. As a matter of fact, a couple of years ago, AT&T introduced a similar program called Sponsored Data. In Verizon’s case, considering that its FreeBee Data is still in beta mode, a lot of changes could still happen before we see the final product. Here’s hoping though that the end result will be FCC compliant.
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