Will ATT Offer Ad-Subsidized Cellphone Service

Cellphones are really expensive; would you save real money by having service that is partially subsidized by advertisments?

“I believe there’s a segment of our customer base where given a choice, they would take some load of advertising for a $5 or $10 reduction in their mobile bill,” [Chief Executive John] Stankey said.

Various companies including Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O, Virgin Mobile USA and Sprint's Boost Mobile have tested advertising supported phone services since the early 2000s but they have not caught on. AT&T is hoping that better advertising targeting could revive the idea.

The planned launch of an ad-supported version of AT&T’s video-streaming service HBO Max next year will serve as a “foundational element” that will provide new advertising inventory, and would be key to new phone plans supported by ads, Stankey said without offering details.

Stankey said ad-supported phone plans could be introduced in “a year or two.”

J.G. Ballard fans have been thinking about this idea ever since the publication of The Subliminal Man in 1963:

Franklin waited impatiently as the five-second commercial break cut in (all telephone calls were free, the length of the commercial extending with range-for long-distance calls the ratio of commercial to conversation was as high as 10:1, the participants desperately trying to get a word in edgeways to the interminable interruptions), but just before it ended he abruptly put the telephone down, then removed the receiver from the cradle.
(Read more about Ballard's free ad-supported phone service)

Via Reuters.

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