My network gives me free access to it’s chosen selection of social media providers – Facebook, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Messenger, Pinterest and one other logo that I have no idea what it is. When I use these services on my phone they don’t come out of my data allowance.
This is a great benefit. In my first month I had 45 gigs of data available and ended up using less than a gig. It turns out that most of my data usage was through social media. I now have a very affordable phone contract that serves all my needs.
There is a darker side to this though. My decision over which apps and social media to use might now be influenced by those my network has chosen to partner with. While we often think of the dangers of Net-netrality in reverse – being charged more to access certain services, this style of “free to access our chosen services” is just as harmful. New apps and social networks now have an extra barrier to entry. The control is potentially in the hands of the networks. New apps not part of the ‘free data’ deal now have to prove their worth not just as being a better product that existing ones, but that they are worth the data they use.
They also offer the endless data deal on Video for £7 extra a month or £5 for music. The video includes Netflix, Youtube and amazon prime video but notably excludes Now TV.
I do enjoy the benefits that I get. But preferential treatment of any data is a worrying path to be journeying down. Our internet service providers shouldn’t have influence on the products and services that we choose to use and subscribe to. It’s when they start forming strategic partnerships with the various different internet services that things become worrying.
That being said – my network really is great, for £10 I get 6 gig of data, unlimited everything else and the free social media usage. If you’re interested in the same deal – http://referme.to/NeqjuVo (note, this is a referall link).
It’s difficult – I know it’s wrong but it’s beneficial to me.