This could kick off a whole new model that would shift the cost for using apps and viewing content that consumes plenty of data, from the device owner to the content provider. Besides paying carriers to subsidize the cost to consumers of watching their programming, these content providers could also promise to share some advertising dollars with the mobile operators.
Earlier in the week, Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead said that the nation's largest carrier was looking at deals where content providers or advertisers would be responsible for paying for the data cost instead of consumers. AT&T also indicated an interest in such a model, calling it the same as toll-free calling. And with the average mobile subscriber using .659GB of data each month in Q4 of 2012, there is no room to go but up.
Research firm Nielsen said that during the fourth quarter of 2012, 41 million Americans were watching video on a mobile phone each month in the period, and were averaging five hours and 23 minutes of usage per person per month. The year before, there were 33.5 million viewers watching video on their mobile phone for an average of and four hours and 54 minutes each month during the quarter. As more and more people trade up to more capable phones, these numbers will continue to rise.