Verizon isn’t going gentle into that good night.
The carrier is pushing back against AT&T’s recent zero rating offer for DirecTV streaming with a data offer of its own: zero-rated data for NFL streaming.
According to the offer’s landing page, Verizon will allow its postpaid customers to live stream local and primetime games on CBS, NBC, ESPN, FOX and NFL Network via the NFL Mobile app without using any of their data allowance. The app is available for free.
Verizon has offered live streaming of NFL games via the NFL Mobile app since September of last year.
The new offer, however, only covers NFL video content on the app. Ads viewed while streaming video will be covered by credits applied to a user’s account, Verizon said. Other app activity, such as downloading and browsing through the app, will count against a user’s data plan, Verizon said.
The NFL offer comes in addition to Verizon’s previously announced promotion to allow postpaid customers to watch go90 content without using their data allowance. Verizon also offers a sponsored content model for advertisers via its FreeBee Data services.
The move comes in an environment of increased competition among carriers using zero-rated and sponsored data offerings to set themselves apart to subscribers.
AT&T took a huge step in this direction last week when it announced it will offer zero-rated DirecTV content to its subscribers through the TV Everywhere app.
Sprint has also participated in the sponsored/zero-rated data boom with its offer for customers to watch the Copa America soccer tournament without using any data earlier this summer.
But the pioneer in this area has undoubtedly been T-Mobile, which led with back to back launches of Music Freedom and Binge On for music and video streaming.
Net neutrality advocates have argued that such offerings violate the spirit of the FCC’s Open Internet rules, while others – like Syntonic CEO Gary Greenbaum – have said sponsored data offers the opportunity to “reach the unreachable.”
The FCC has yet to take action to prohibit of these offers, but in January said it would keep an eye on carrier plans to offer sponsored data options.