AT&T's new Sponsored Data an innovation whose time has come

Mike Dano, FierceWirelessAs FierceWireless' Mike Dano navigates his way around the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, he's finding that the biggest news to come out of the show so far is AT&T Mobility's announcement of "Sponsored Data," which is designed to allow advertisers to cover the cost of data access to their services.

The concept isn't exactly new: AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson brought up the idea of "toll free" data in 2012 and Google began providing free in-flight Internet service to travelers on AirTran, Delta and Virgin America flights back in 2010. Other deals involving Facebook, Amazon and T-Mobile have also been announced in the last couple of years. But AT&T's sponsored data service is creating a formal process of providing free access to its services to their offerings that is less expensive and that's ruffling a few feathers in Vegas this week. Read more