The smartphone market is pretty saturated right now, and even the mobile market in general is saturated. Leading wireless carriers to look elsewhere to find revenue and continue their business. While AT&T has been looking towards cars, and have agreements with most car makers to put their 4G LTE network in their newer cars, other carriers are looking at ads. Verizon and AT&T both are, actually. Verizon bought AOL last year, partially for their video content, but also for their ad services. Both go great with their Go90 mobile streaming service. Verizon and AT&T are looking at ads to help generate revenue for them. Verizon's plan is to zero-rate Go90 data (which they already do) and the ads will pay for the data used by Go90. Effectively paying off the break they give their customers for using Go90.
However, the FCC doesn't want the carriers to go too far. Right now the commission is getting ready to discuss some changes to rules that they have in place that keep carriers from getting carried away when it comes to sharing internet data. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that these new rules are aimed at protecting consumers, more than hurting carriers. While rules have not been openly discussed just yet, the report does say that the proposed rules will more than likely make companies become a bit more transparent about how they get and sell sensitive data. Another thing is making it easier for customer to opt-out of data-sharing programs. As expected, Mobile carriers are not happy about this. Even though FCC's Tom Wheeler hasn't even announced his plans just yet. AT&T has already taken to their public policy blog to voice their concerns about the FCC's new rules.
Companies collect user data for a variety of reasons. The most popular reason is to help make the experience for the customer better. Another is to help show them more relevant ads. Have you ever been searching for a new phone, maybe the new Samsung Galaxy S7, and then later on all you see are ads for the Galaxy S7 and other smartphones or wireless carriers? That's because Google has access to your browsing history. This helps them target ads to you better and gets you to click on them more often than non-targeted ads. Which brings in more cash for them, but also gets the advertiser what they want, customers.
While the FCC has yet to discuss new rules on internet data sharing, you can pretty much guarantee that the wireless carriers are not going to be happy with whatever the FCC decides on.