Zippy 4G data speeds have made gobbling down data a cinch, but they've made bumping up against your mobile plan's data caps even easier. AT&T might have found a way to provide some relief—by letting the companies whose sites you're visiting foot the bill.
The "Sponsored Data" program—so-called because it's data that is sponsored and we do NOT have time for any clever nicknames here, people, just look what happened over at Verizon with those Xyboards—is pretty self-explanatory; go to site that's bought in, and the data you expend there won't count against your monthly limit. Easy!
It's not dissimilar to being able to shop Amazon for free on Delta flights; it's worth it to Amazon because you'll end up spending a little dough, and worth it to you because you don't have to spend hours on a plane listening to your own thoughts. Or, in this case, from overage charges. When you're viewing Sponsored Data, a little badge will appear so you know that you are now browsing with impunity. Pilot participants include United Health Group, Aquto, and Kony, and we're sure to see more (and better-known) companies jump on it soon.
If there's any downside, it's the potential that companies paying for your data would want preferential bandwidth treatment, but AT&T has explicitly said that this won't be the case. And while you probably won't see Netflix fronting your streaming binges, it could provide a little relief here and there from the terror of Big Data.