AT&T, Verizon Hit Accelerator on Toll-Free Content

Verizon patent application includes images of user interface that could be used to market toll-free content to subscribers.

Less than 24 hours after AT&T chief Randall Stephenson confirmed that the telecom giant will use sponsored data deals to market new video products, rival Verizon unveiled the blueprint for a toll-free content service in a parent application obtained by The Donohue Report.

While sponsored data services appear to be on the horizon, AT&T and Verizon continue to face challenges signing contracts with content owners and marketers for programming that could be distributed through mobile devices and IP-connected TVs.

“We are doing a lot of work right now on how we come to market. We have not announced any plans but I think it would be reasonable to assume sponsored data would be a part of how our customers would take advantage of this kind of content library,” Stephenson told analysts Monday on AT&T’s fourth-quarter earnings call.

A Verizon patent application published on Tuesday contains images of a user interface that could be used to pitch toll-free content to subscribers, including movies that could be viewed and purchased without incurring data charges.

“A service provider may want to provide the toll-free data service to target users that are likely to increase service provider revenues (e.g., users who are likely to make purchases as a result of receiving the toll-free data service,” Verizon states in the patent application.

Verizon inventor Jeff Xiao
Verizon inventor Jeff Xiao

Verizon Mobile Web Technologist & Software Engineering Leader Jeff Xiao is named as lead inventor on the patent application, titled, “Selectively and dynamically providing toll-free data services.”

Abstract: A device may determine a campaign rule for providing a toll-free data service to a mobile device associated with a user. The campaign rule may identify a condition for charging a service provider, associated with the toll-free data service, for data used by the mobile device in association with the toll-free data service. The device may determine an efficiency metric associated with the user. The efficiency metric may be determined based on providing toll-free data services to the user or a set of users associated with a demographic with which the user belongs. The device may analyze the efficiency metric based on the campaign rule. The device may selectively provide the toll-free data service to the mobile device, associated with the user, based on analyzing the efficiency metric.

Patent Application 

Claims: 

1. A device, comprising: one or more processors to: receive campaign information associated with a toll-free data service, the campaign information including information associated with target users to be provided with an offer for the toll-free data service; determine, based on the campaign information, a campaign rule for providing the offer for the toll-free data service to a mobile device associated with a user, the campaign rule identifying a condition for charging a service provider, associated with the toll-free data service, for data used by the mobile device in association with the toll-free data service; determine an efficiency metric associated with the user, the efficiency metric being determined as a result of providing the toll-free data service or another toll-free data service to the user or to a set of users; analyze the efficiency metric based on the campaign rule; and selectively provide the offer for the toll-free data service to the mobile device, associated with the user, based on analyzing the efficiency metric.

2. The device of claim 1, where the one or more processors, when determining the campaign rule, are further to: determine a threshold value associated with the efficiency metric; where the one or more processors, when analyzing the efficiency metric based on the campaign rule, are further to: compare the efficiency metric to the threshold value; and where the one or more processors, when selectively providing the offer for the toll-free data service to the mobile device, are further to: selectively provide the offer for the toll-free data service to the mobile device based on comparing the efficiency metric to the threshold value, the offer being provided when the efficiency metric satisfies the threshold value, the offer not being provided when the efficiency metric does not satisfy the threshold value.

3. The device of claim 1, where the one or more processors are further to: determine an amount of toll-free data, associated with the toll-free data service, to be provided to the mobile device associated with the user; and where the one or more processors, when selectively providing the offer for the toll-free data service to the mobile device, are further to: selectively provide the offer for the amount of toll-free data associated with the toll-free data service.

4. The device of claim 1, where the mobile device is a first mobile device; where the user is a first user; where the efficiency metric is a first efficiency metric; where the one or more processors, when analyzing the efficiency metric, are further to: determine that the first efficiency metric satisfies a threshold value; where the one or more processors, when selectively providing the offer for the toll-free data service to the mobile device associated with the user, are further to: provide the offer for the toll-free data service to the first mobile device, associated with the first user, based on determining that the first efficiency metric satisfies the threshold value; and where the one or more processors are further to: determine that a second efficiency metric, associated with a second user, does not satisfy the threshold value; and prevent the offer for the toll-free data service from being provided to a second mobile device, associated with the second user, based on determining that the second efficiency metric does not satisfy the threshold value.

5. The device of claim 1, where the efficiency metric indicates a revenue or a profit, associated with the user or a user demographic to which the user belongs, generated based on providing the toll-free data service or the other toll-free data service to the user or the set of users.

6. The device of claim 1, where the one or more processors are further to: receive acceptance of the offer for the toll-free data service; and provide the toll-free data service to the mobile device after receiving the acceptance.

7. The device of claim 6, where the one or more processors are further to: receive purchase information associated with a purchase made by the user, in association with the toll-free data service, based on providing the toll-free data service to the mobile device; and update the efficiency metric based on the purchase information.

8. A computer-readable medium storing instructions, the instructions comprising: one or more instructions that, when executed by one or more processors, cause the one or more processors to: receive campaign information associated with a toll-free data service, the campaign information including information associated with target users to be provided with an offer for the toll-free data service; determine, based on the campaign information, a campaign rule for providing the offer for the toll-free data service to a mobile device associated with a user, the campaign rule identifying a condition for providing the offer for the toll-free data service to the mobile device associated with the user; determine an efficiency metric associated with the user, the efficiency metric being determined based on information associated with providing the toll-free data service or another service to one or more users; analyze the efficiency metric based on the campaign rule; and selectively provide the offer for the toll-free data service to the mobile device, associated with the user, based on analyzing the efficiency metric, the offer being provided to the mobile device when the efficiency metric satisfies the condition, the offer not being provided to the mobile device when the efficiency metric does not satisfy the condition.

9. The computer-readable medium of claim 8, where the one or more instructions, that cause the one or more processors to analyze the efficiency metric based on the campaign rule, further cause the one or more processors to: compare the efficiency metric to a threshold value; and where the one or more instructions, that cause the one or more processors to selectively provide the offer for the toll-free data service to the mobile device, further cause the one or more processors to: selectively provide the offer for the toll-free data service to the mobile device based on comparing the efficiency metric to the threshold value, the offer being provided to the mobile device when the efficiency metric satisfies the threshold value, the offer not being provided to the mobile device when the efficiency metric does not satisfy the threshold value.

10. The computer-readable medium of claim 8, where the one or more instructions, that cause the one or more processors to receive the campaign information, further cause the one or more processors to: receive information that identifies a particular efficiency metric to be used to determine whether to provide the offer for the toll-free data service; and where the one or more instructions, that cause the one or more processors to determine the efficiency metric, further cause the one or more processors to: determine the particular efficiency metric based on the information that identifies the particular efficiency metric.

11. The computer-readable medium of claim 8, where the one or more instructions, when executed by the one or more processors, further cause the one or more processors to: determine user profile information that identifies a characteristic associated with the user, the user profile information being different from the efficiency metric; analyze the user profile information based on the campaign rule; and where the one or more instructions, that cause the one or more processors to selectively provide the offer for the toll-free data service to the mobile device, further cause the one or more processors to: selectively provide the offer to the mobile device based on analyzing the user profile information, the offer being provided to the mobile device when the user profile information matches information identified by the campaign rule and when the efficiency metric satisfies the condition, the offer not being provided to the mobile device when the use profile information does not match information identified by the campaign rule or when the efficiency metric does not satisfy the condition.

12. The computer-readable medium of claim 8, where the efficiency metric is associated with a revenue or a profit generated as a result of providing the toll-free data service or the other service to the one or more users, the one or more users including the user or a group of users associated with a user demographic to which the user belongs.

13. The computer-readable medium of claim 8, where the efficiency metric is associated with a cost of providing the toll-free data service or the other service to the one or more users.

14. The computer-readable medium of claim 8, where the one or more instructions, when executed by the one or more processors, further cause the one or more processors to: receive acceptance of the offer for the toll-free data service; provide the toll-free data service to the mobile device after receiving the acceptance; receive purchase information associated with a purchase made by the user, in association with the toll-free data service, based on providing the toll-free data service to the mobile device; update the efficiency metric based on the purchase information; and selectively provide another offer for the toll-free data service, to the mobile device associated with the user or to another mobile device associated with another user, based on updating the efficiency metric.

15. A method, comprising: determining, by a device, a campaign rule for providing a toll-free data service to a mobile device associated with a user, the campaign rule identifying a condition for charging a service provider, associated with the toll-free data service, for data used by the mobile device in association with the toll-free data service; determining, by the device, an efficiency metric associated with the user, the efficiency metric being determined based on providing one or more toll-free data services to one or more users, the one or more users including the user or a set of users associated with a demographic with which the user belongs; analyzing, by the device, the efficiency metric based on the campaign rule; and selectively providing, by the device, the toll-free data service to the mobile device, associated with the user, based on analyzing the efficiency metric.

16. The method of claim 15, where determining the campaign rule further comprises: determining the campaign rule based on campaign information that identifies information associated with target users to be provided with the toll-free data service.

17. The method of claim 15, where analyzing the efficiency metric further comprises: comparing the efficiency metric, associated with the user, to another efficiency metric associated with another user; and where selectively providing the toll-free data service to the mobile device further comprises: selectively providing the toll-free data service to the mobile device based on comparing the efficiency metric to the other efficiency metric.

18. The method of claim 15, where the mobile device is a first mobile device; where the user is a first user; where the efficiency metric is a first efficiency metric; where analyzing the efficiency metric further comprises: comparing the first efficiency metric, associated with the first user, and a second efficiency metric associated with a second user, the second user being different from the first user; where selectively providing the toll-free data service to the mobile device further comprises: providing the first mobile device with access to a first amount of toll-free data based on comparing the first efficiency metric and the second efficiency metric; and where the method further comprises: providing a second mobile device, associated with the second user, with access to a second amount of toll-free data based on comparing the first efficiency metric and the second efficiency metric, the second mobile device being different from the first mobile device, the second amount of toll-free data being different from the first amount of toll-free data.

19. The method of claim 15, where the efficiency metric is associated with a quantity of data consumed by or provided to one or more mobile devices in association with the one or more toll-free data services.

20. The method of claim 15, where selectively providing the toll-free data service to the mobile device further comprises: providing the toll-free data service to the mobile device; and where the method further comprises: receiving purchase information associated with a purchase made by the user, in association with the toll-free data service, based on providing the toll-free data service to the mobile device; updating the efficiency metric based on the purchase information; and providing another toll-free data service, to the mobile device associated with the user, based on updating the efficiency metric.