AT&T have launched a slightly different way to allow customers to increase their data allowance: Data Perks. The new service, which has been launched in conjunction with Aquto, allows customers to take part in surveys or shop online using their AT&T smartphone or tablet and earn data bundles, which may be added to their account to use that month or in a subsequent one. The additional data bundles come in packages of 25 MB and are kept within the application until such time as the customer wishes to spend them, when they may be quickly and easily transferred into the data belonging to that billing month. Customers can accumulate an unlimited quantity of data, but may only transfer up to 1,000 MB each month. If you start using Data Perks today, AT&T will give you a bonus 25 MB to get you started. If you are on a restricted data contract, this is a relatively easy way to boost your data allowance, although it is not certain as to how many surveys you would need to take a month in order to make a meaningful difference to your data allowance.
However, there are some caveats – for those AT&T customers with a family package, the data accrued in the Data Perks scheme may only be used by the individual smartphone line that registered and used the application, and once you have transferred the data to your package, it will expire at the end of that billing month. Data acquired in the service has a twelve month expiry time and AT&T reserve the right to cancel or amend the service at any time. Android customers must be running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or later for the application to be compatible and iPhone customers must be using an iPhone running at least iOS 7.0. AT&T’s terms and conditions are also careful to state that they do not control third party businesses featuring in the service and customers are subject to their particular terms and conditions.
Why would AT&T offer customers free data for taking part in surveys and buying things through their network? The answer to this is in the value of information: AT&T is able to sell to advertisers the profiling information gleaned from customers’ anonymous surveys. AT&T already use the information gathered from its customer base, in line with other carriers. They are not alone in this respect: Google do something very similar and rewards customers with Play Store credit, which may be used to buy applications, games, music, television series or movies. Here again, the information it gathers from customers using the application is collated and sold on to advertisers.