For quite some time now, much of the wireless market has been watching the carrier’s latest moves cautiously. While big moves from carriers in the U.S. have always been watched with some degree of scrutinizing and skepticism, since the introduction of the Net Neutrality regulations, these carrier moves have been watched more closer to see if any of them involve preferential treatment in any capacity. Be it a preference for certain customers, certain companies or even certain aspects of data charging. This of course, has not stopped carriers from rolling out their various data saving initiatives and especially AT&T and Verizon who have both progressed forward with various aspects of ‘sponsored data‘ – the zeroing of data costs for the customer under certain circumstances.
Generally speaking, T-Mobile has yet to go down this route, although they have faced some criticism for their Binge On service which looks to zero out data charges for video content. The main concern for Net Neutrality advocates being that data is zeroed out for video content from select providers. A move which could be seen as offering free data usage if you opt to go for one of the partnered video providers. Although, the FCC have said that in terms of their initial impressions, they do not have any major issues with the way Binge On works.
That said, reports are now coming through from some T-Mobile users who have began to notice that their Facebook accounts seemed to be offering them free data access to Facebook. At the moment, this only seems to have been reported by T-Mobile customers specifically. According to the details, users are seeing a banner which reads “Facebook with Free Data” (as seen in the image below) when accessing the service using T-Mobile’s network. What seems to be further confirming the access is that some are also reporting a warning sign which appears when exiting the site and which confirms they are returning to data-costing pages. Interestingly, it seems T-Mobile is not confirming this as one of their specific features and has since further reiterated that they do not offer any form of sponsored data. As such it is not currently clear as to what is happening here, but the reports are confirming that the free access is being noted for both the Facebook app and the mobile website.