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What is “Zero-Rated Data?”

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May 16, 2016

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Zero-rated data, or sponsored data, is something you get when a carrier lets you stream content over its network content without having that data count against your high speed data allowance – sometimes in exchange for ads or another service, but more often today as a perk. Some carriers itemize this usage on their bills but others don’t.

Examples of zero rated data include AT&T’s Sponsored Data Program, T-Mobile’s Binge On! and Verizon’s Go90. All stream video and music without going against your data allowance. Be careful though, carriers do find ways to “scavenge” your data allowance: Video ads will count against you with T-Mobile , while Verizon encourages you to share video clips on Go90 but debits your data for it.

What to look for on your bill…or not:

AT&TAT&T’s sponsored data usage is summarized on your bill, so you can see what you use that isn’t going against your data allowance. For companies that sponsor data, any time you spend using their services is billed to the sponsor and not to you. You can read more about this here: http://www.att.com/att/sponsoreddata/en/index.html#tab2

T-MobileT-Mobile doesn’t show your Binge On! data usage on your bill at all.

VerizonVerizon’s Go90 will show the data scavenged from your bucket as regular data usage, like it says in the fine print: “…browsing or searching for shows, posting comments, sharing clips and viewing settings will incur data usage charges.”

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