AT&T ends zero rating.

This is more than a win for net neutrality, it’s the confirmation that – contrary to old telcos’ narratives – zero rating made little business sense. (as those readers who follow me since several years already knew very well)

If we look at the huge data packages that can be bought for few euros/month, prices brought down by competition, Zero rating makes little sense for consumers.

It would make sense if lack of competition would cause rival mobile operators artificially limiting the size of data packages provided to users. But when you have competition, you will always have an operator winning in the market by offering competitive prices with huge data packages not restricted to specific online services (those that pay the operators to be included in these zero rating packages).

So, with the present trend of reducing data costs, determined by the evolution of electronics, Zero rating could make sense only in an environment of limited or absent competition. It’s an anticompetitive tool, as FCC recognized in the past wrt. AT&T’s

Lastly, the argument that “the internet does not recognize state borders” is an obvious nonsense. The California net neutrality law does not apply to AT&T customers in other states.

Source : AT&T

Impact of California ‘Net Neutrality’ Law on Free Data Services

March 17, 2021 at 8:00am

California has enacted a “net neutrality” law banning “sponsored data” services that allowed companies to pay for, or “sponsor,” the data usage of their customers who are also AT&T wireless customers. Unfortunately, under the California law we are now prohibited from providing certain data features to consumers free of charge.

Prior to California’s law, sponsored data customers were able to browse, stream and enjoy applications from sponsors without using their monthly data allowance. AT&T video providers utilized sponsored data to offer Data Free TV, allowing customers to stream their favorite movies and shows over their AT&T wireless service without it counting against their wireless data plan. AT&T Mobility has for years openly invited any entity to become a wireless data sponsor on the same terms and conditions. Since it began, our sponsored data service, and competing offers from other wireless providers, have delivered significant benefits and saved consumers money. Consumers also have enjoyed an explosion of video streaming services.

We regret the inconvenience to customers caused by California’s new “net neutrality” law. Given that the Internet does not recognize state borders, the new law not only ends our ability to offer California customers such free data services but also similarly impacts our customers in states beyond California.

A state-by-state approach to “net neutrality” is unworkable. A patchwork of state regulations, many of them overly restrictive, creates roadblocks to creative and pro-consumer solutions. We have long been committed to the principles of an open Internet. We deliver the content and services our customers want because it’s what they demand, not because it’s mandated by regulation. We also believe Internet access should be available and sustainably affordable to all Americans, and strongly advocate for Congress to adopt federal legislation to make that possible while providing clear, consistent, and permanent net neutrality rules for everyone to follow.

via Impact of California 'Net Neutrality' Law on Free Data Services – AT&T Public Policy.