AT&T begins zero rating program for DirecTV multiscreen apps

AT&T has begun zero-rating the DirecTV’s TV Everywhere apps, according to promotions tied to the latest version of the satellite TV operator’s multiscreen app.

"Now you can stream DirecTV on your devices, anywhere — without using your data. Now with AT&T,” reads an iTunes product page for the DirecTV app version 4.7.013 update , which was released Tuesday. 

AT&T reps didn’t immediately respond to FierceCable’s request for further elaboration. It was expected that AT&T would announce a zero-rated DirecTV multiscreen offering sometime this year. 

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In granting AT&T permission to close its $49 billion purchase of DirecTV in the summer of 2015, the FCC said it couldn’t exempt its own video services from its usage caps while keeping the meter on for outside services. But AT&T has argued that such a provision doesn’t apply to mobile data caps.

AT&T isn’t alone. Verizon zero rates usage of its Go90 mobile video service on its broadband networks. T-Mobile US does the same with its BingeOn service. 

Such “zero-rating” programs, which exempt ISP customers from data usage metering for specified video usage, are controversial and are currently being reviewed by the FCC. Comcast has also drawn flack for zero rating its nascent Stream TV service, which it says operates over a managed network. 

In June, net neutrality advocates delivered 100,000 letters to the FCC from internet users urging the commission to clamp down on Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Comcast for offering zero-rated data services.

The Center for Media Justice, Fight for the Future and Free Press were among the groups protesting offerings such as T-Mobile's Binge On and Verizon's FreeBee Data. Binge On allows users to stream video from dozens of content providers without incurring data charges, while FreeBee enables content providers or others to pay the cost of data on behalf of customers, essentially providing "toll-free" content and services.

Meanwhile, at CTIA today, AT&T announced that current U-verse and DirecTV customers can receive a free smart phone when they switch a line of wireless service over to AT&T. 

For more:
- visit this iTunes product page
- read this Verge story
- read this Ars Technica story

Related articles:
T-Mobile adds FOX Now, Dish Anywhere to Binge On zero-rated mobile data service
Verizon starts zero rating Go90 this week, sees stronger take rate for Custom TV
Net neutrality advocates target zero-rated offerings from Verizon, T-Mobile, others

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