With the recent rise of T-Mobile US and the generally saturated situation on the mobile market in the country, wireless carriers are on the lookout for alternative revenue streams which they can utilize in order to avoid stagnation. Of course, after seeing how the advertising business practically transformed Google from a search engine company into a multinational tech giant with resources invested in every branch of every industry in any way connected to the Internet, it's no wonder that a company like AT&T would be at least interested in dabbling into advertising. Of course, the second largest US carrier did much more than that as it has invested billions in kickstarting its own advertising business. In fact, it was just last year that AT&T acquired DirecTV for $49 billion and is now planning to include the streaming service's mobile app into its AdWorks network.
Unfortunately for the company, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has different ideas on how wireless carriers should go about with sharing their customers' data when offering targeted advertising to their clients. In fact, the FCC has been discussing potential implementation of certain data privacy rules for carriers since early 2016 and is allegedly close to implementing them. Not surprisingly, AT&T is not looking forward to having restrictions imposed on its advertising business. Speaking at the Mobile Future Forward conference in Seattle, the head of the company's Mobility and Consumer Operations business Glenn Lurie stated that such rules could make the advertising market unfair. In his speech held on Tuesday, Lurie pointed out how any potential FCC rules don't apply to Internet companies like Google and Facebook. He concluded that carriers looking to stay competitive in the ad business would be facing an uphill battle if the said rules are implemented.
AT&T's executive asserted that the Dallas-based company doesn't need additional regulation because it will always do its best to keep the hard-earned trust of its customers, arguing how that's just common sense for a huge firm that's always thinking long-term. The rules proposed by the FCC earlier this year would require carriers to get their customers to agree to share their data with advertisers and would also put significant pressure on disclosure and alleviation of potential data leaks. While it remains to be seen whether the FCC's proposal bears any fruit or not, the question consumers should be asking isn't whether carriers are regulated enough but whether everyone in the advertising business is regulated enough.