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Verizon Announces FreeBee Sponsored Data Program

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Jan 19, 2016, 8:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

Verizon Wireless today revealed FreeBee Data, a program that will allow consumers to access select data without it counting against their monthly data bucket. The program has two business models, according to Verizon, and both target content providers more so than end users. FreeBee Data 360 allows content providers to let consumers access some of all of their app/web content at no cost to the consumer. The content providers will be charged on a per gigabyte basis for what consumers use. The second tier, called FreeBee Data, is less intensive and lets content providers sponsor specific consumer actions per click, such as streaming music or watching mobile videos. Verizon is launching FreeBee Data 360 on a trial basis beginning today, which allows content providers to target Verizon's entire post-paid customer base. The FreeBee Data program kicks of January 25. Verizon says a few brands have already signed up for this pay-per-click service, including Hearst, AOL, and Gameday. Verizon is limiting tests of this to just 1,000 customers initially, with a commercial launch expected later in the year. Sponsored content will be signified by the presence of the FreeBee icon (a bee), which will appear next to content links. AT&T has a more limited of sponsored data available to its customers, and T-Mobile offers zero-rated access to select streaming music and video services though its Music Freedom and Binge On programs.

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