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T-Mobile's GoMart Offers Wireless Users Free Facebook Access
by Karl Bode 07:21PM Monday Dec 23 2013 Tipped by MxxCon See Profile
T-Mobile subsidiary GoSmart is offering its wireless customers a little something different: free access to Facebook even if the users don't have a wireless data plan. According to AllThingsD, the promotion should launch next month and will cover "anything hosted on Facebook itself," include Facebook messenger. While there has been a lot of talk over the years (most of it from billing systems companies) about carriers charging more or less for particular apps, a lot of these billing concepts (like AT&T's 1-800 data concept) have raised red flags among the network neutrality brigades. The concept of offering free data for one app is a new one here in the States, and it will be interesting to see how it's received by consumers.

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elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA

Nothing to fear

Toll-free data is a good thing.

Whether anyone needs access to Facebook, well, that's another matter.

Thinkdiff
Premium,MVM
join:2001-08-07
Bronx, NY
kudos:11

2 edits

1 recommendation

Re: Nothing to fear

Why is this a good thing? (I'm asking genuinely)

I think the "fear" is that Facebook and other large, deep-pocketed companies can use their mountains of money to price out smaller competitors. Sticking with the social media angle, how will the next social media startup get users if the options are use Facebook for free or pay for an expensive data plan to use "CompetitorX"? This could extend to any sector, though. CNN pays for free news access, ESPN pays for free sports coverage. Eventually 90% of what people do will be "free". Data plan prices will increase to offset the decrease in subscribers (at least, I suspect the $ per MB will increase), making it difficult to justify using services that are not "toll-free". -- this last part may be a stretch. It depends on how you view the wireless industry.

Maybe that's just my pessimism.

All that said, I think this is a brilliant way to spin the idea. Whether or not you buy into the dooms-day theory is another story
--
University of Southern California - Fight On!
openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2

Re: Nothing to fear

People will always use "free". People gravitated to "free" content on the Internet from the beginning. This isn't that much different if you think about it.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink
I don't see why we should "fear" that.

We read almost daily about "low caps and steep overages" - regardless of whether they are or not, and yet, the majority of the "demand" for bandwidth, consumed by the public, is for Netflix and Youtube.

It seems to me disingenuous at best, to complain about caps - which mostly affect one's ability to replace cable/satellite programming with cheap streaming fare, and at the same time oppose rational market answers that would remove the primary cause of overage potential and meter-anxiety from Mom's bill.

tommyanon

@comcast.net

mostly don't like it, but mixed feelings

my fear is that this will eventually lead a tier of service that includes 1000's of free web services and than a 'neutral dumb pipe' becomes an expensive luxury. this is the beginning of the end of net neutrality.

although i do think it may be interesting if this was offered on a paygo plan that has no minimum monthly spend. as much as i hate to see net neutrality go away the idea of some completely free(after device purchase) wireless services could be interesting, kind of like free wikipedia on kindles.

but an monthly subscriptions should be for a net neutral connection.
openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2

Re: mostly don't like it, but mixed feelings

said by tommyanon :

this is the beginning of the end of net neutrality.

How so? You just suggested that a "neutral dumb pipe" will still exist.
said by tommyanon :

but an monthly subscriptions should be for a net neutral connection.

Like we already have?

tommyanon

@comcast.net

Re: mostly don't like it, but mixed feelings

said by openbox9:

said by tommyanon :

this is the beginning of the end of net neutrality.

How so? You just suggested that a "neutral dumb pipe" will still exist.
said by tommyanon :

but an monthly subscriptions should be for a net neutral connection.

Like we already have?

i fear after some years the option will be a paid for but restricted to certain sites/services connection or a 'dumb pipe' that is many more time expensive than today. i really only support 'free' if there is no monthly charges whatsoever like the free wikipedia on a kindle.
openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2

Re: mostly don't like it, but mixed feelings

Not much different than what we have now. "Free", congested Starbucks, McDonalds, etc., WiFi, or pay up for your own, much less congested individual connection. I don't see how this is neutrality issue. funchords See Profile answers your concern well.

MxxCon

join:1999-11-19
Brooklyn, NY

Don't you see where this is going?

Welcome to



Google might be doing some questionable things elsewhere, but here's a good example of good deal: original CR48 chromebook came with 200mb of free internet access, not google access. When you buy Nexus7 from tmobile you get 200mb of free internet access, not gmail access.
See the difference? Google pays for people to have free internet access. Facebook pays for people to have facebook access.
How can another company that can't afford to pay such fee compete?
If somebody buys such a plan, which service will they use? the smaller one that requires them to pay too much $ carrier over-sized data "bucket" or free one that does not cost them anything?
Such behavior is simply unfair for companies that can't afford it.
--
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carpetshark3
Premium
join:2004-02-12
Idledale, CO
Reviews:
·CenturyLink

Re: Don't you see where this is going?

Is it an app from carrier, downloadable from FB, or built into a phone?

The last bothers me. I've rooted phones to get RID of the FB app.
FB, Google et al, need to have their services broken up much like the way the EU got after MS and IE. If you want those services, that's fine. If you don't, you should be able to opt out. Google sticks all its services into one file that you can download for a rooted phone with another ROM. Most do want Play Store, most like Gmail. A lot of us don't feel like being blackmailed to use the rest of the services. Maps, location, etc. do not exist on my phone. I don't happen to need them. The maps I do use are star charts.

MxxCon

join:1999-11-19
Brooklyn, NY

Re: Don't you see where this is going?

"anything hosted on Facebook itself," include Facebook messenger.
so you either download yourself, it's builtin and web based.

It doesn't matter how exactly you access it, what matters is the fact that facebook is given preferential treatment that their data is free.
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funchords
Hello
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-11
Yarmouth Port, MA
kudos:6

If they're not subscribing to the 'Net, how is this a 'Net Neutrality viol?

I used an ATM today. I'm sure the ATM communicated via the 'net. However, I could not check Facebook on the ATM. Is that a 'Net Neutrality violation? No.

Neither this this idea.

So is Facebook getting preferential treatment across the routers and switches for 'Net subscribers, or is all traffic being handled in normal neutral fashion? That's one question I'd have if I was a regulator.

And what becomes of the bandwidth available to Internet subscribers, when this Facebook (and other 'free') traffic becomes substantial. Does it create a defacto two-tier 'network despite traffic handling being neutral? That's another question I'd have if I was a regulator.

This is interesting but not alarming. It brings up interesting questions.
--
Robb Topolski -= funchords.com =- Cape Cod, MA -- KE1MO
Tweet! Tweet! -- »twitter.com/funchords

MxxCon

join:1999-11-19
Brooklyn, NY

Re: If they're not subscribing to the 'Net, how is this a 'Net Neutrality viol?

said by funchords:

So is Facebook getting preferential treatment across the routers and switches for 'Net subscribers, or is all traffic being handled in normal neutral fashion? That's one question I'd have if I was a regulator.

Facebook is getting preferential treatment either on the phone itself or on T-mobile's network. Facebook's traffic is allowed to go through while other companies are blocked until they pay a toll.
said by funchords:

This is interesting but not alarming. It brings up interesting questions.

With this mindset we are allowing a slippery slope to happen.

Imagine a situation where Verizon and ATT will say they eliminate all data plans and now if somebody wants to have these carriers' users visit their sites or use their applications they must to pay Verizon and ATT for the bandwidth of those users.
Is that not network neutrality violation?

We must not allow "creative pricing" to happen in this industry because they only outcome of it will be higher prices for consumers no matter how you look at it.

It is very disappointing that so many people still don't see the danger of allowing this to set root.
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