FCC inquiry be damned.
Verizon is charging full steam ahead with its free content offerings, beefing up its zero-rated and sponsored data lineup this week with a little help from Syntonic.
Syntonic on Wednesday announced its Freeway by Syntonic app will now be available to Verizon’s wireless subscribers on both Android and iOS devices, helping them connect with applications and content that won’t count against their data plans. Content covered by the app includes TV shows, movies, videos, games, and apps, Syntonic indicated.
According to the company, the Freeway app is the same solution utilized by Verizon rival AT&T for its sponsored data offerings. The new partnership with Verizon will make the app the first “cross-carrier” solution and expand its consumer reach to around 140 million mobile subscribers, Syntonic said.
“Our support for Verizon Wireless with Freeway by Syntonic is a tremendous milestone for our technology, and the progression of sponsored data services as a whole,” Syntonic Gary Greenbaum said. “Sponsored data business models are quickly gaining in popularity, and content providers are the immediate beneficiaries of our cross-carrier, multi-platform solution – giving them the reach and flexibility to deepen their engagement with massive audiences that want greater access to mobile content.”
The move comes amid a raging debate on the merits of sponsored and zero-rated data offers.
While proponents say zero-rated data represents a win for consumers, advertisers, and operators all around, critics have said the practice violates the spirit of the FCC’s net neutrality rules.
The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau – at least recently – seems to be disposed to side with critics, opening up inquiries into both Verizon and AT&T’s zero-rating offers. The carriers, however, have defended the practice as both net neutrality compliant and a boon for customers.