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posted by martyb on Sunday September 20 2020, @10:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the future-plan:-why-not-both? dept.

Exclusive: AT&T considers cellphone plans subsidized by ads:

(Reuters) - AT&T Inc T.N is considering offering wireless phone plans partially subsidized by advertising as soon as a year from now, Chief Executive John Stankey said in an interview on Tuesday.

[...] The consideration, which has not been previously disclosed, underscores AT&T's commitment to the advertising business as the U.S. phone carrier reviews its portfolio to identify assets to sell in order to reduce its debt load. AT&T is considering selling its advertising-technology unit Xandr, sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

"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," 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.

[...] AT&T engineers are creating "unified customer identifiers," Stankey said. Such technology would allow marketers to identify users across multiple devices and serve them relevant advertising.


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  • (Score: 2) by Zinnia Zirconium on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:12PM (1 child)

    by Zinnia Zirconium (11163) on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:12PM (#1054129) Homepage Journal

    Will it be done again like it was done before?

    Faxes, Email, Voicemail... Free [cbsnews.com]

    General Magic has rolled out a service it calls myTalk. You call a toll free number, punch in your code and… (sound) You can even record a reply that will be sent back as a voice file. General Magic President Steve Markman says all users have to do is put up with what amount to short commercials.

    "So, literally when you dial in, every 45 seconds or so, you may hear an audio ad and after the audio ad you can process as many emails as you can until the next audio ad is displayed for you."

    More Net Freebies.... myTalk.com [cbsnews.com]

    What's the catch? What else? Short targeted commercials. In addition to voicemail and email, you can also use the MyTalk service to make short phone calls...anywhere in the country for free.

    1999 was the time of The Matrix. There were payphones and landlines back then.

    Starting Score:    1  point
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   2  
  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:57PM

    by looorg (578) on Sunday September 20 2020, @11:57PM (#1054150)

    I guess the main thing that has happened then in the last 20ish years is that now AT&T, or whomever decides to run this service, will probably have an AI analyze the conversation/call and tailor the ads to the conversation.

    Bootycall detected -- playing ads for condoms, cheap hotel rooms that rent by the hour, pregnancy and std-tests ...