Can Sponsored Data Be a ‘Win’ for Operators, Service Providers and Consumers?

October 6, 2016 - Openet

The concept of sponsoring data access to global subscribers continues to gather pace globally. Simply put, this is the practice of enabling customers to access specific mobile content, apps and data services without them being charged. Instead the cost is passed on to a third party – a content provider, an enterprise, or possibly even a carrier. 

Sponsored data has heralded a new era of ‘try before you buy’ for certain applications and content. Content providers can essentially provide free access for a specified time in the hope that a small taste will convince the user to buy. But is this use case is merely the tip of a growing, untapped iceberg? And by which methods are carriers and operators using sponsored data in order to drive content engagement and encourage more business?

Sponsored data: making the case

As a model, sponsored data enables customers to access mobile content, apps and data services without any impact on their own personal data allowance. The data delivery charges are then passed on to the sponsoring company – this could be the content provider, an advertiser, or even a third party. We’ve seen recent examples where mobile platforms or even combating the Zika virus via a sponsored data app have relied on this model very successfully. And it can clearly increase revenues and clearly define a lucrative role for the service provider in a burgeoning ecosystem.

Let’s look at some recent examples where this model includes driving the adoption of critical mobile health applications and where we might see more uptake in emerging markets next.

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