Mobile Future

Free Data: How It Is Closing the Digital Divide

The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) released a report today titled, “Understanding and Appreciating Zero Rating: The Use and Impact of Free Data in the Mobile Broadband Sector.” The new report takes a further look into “zero-rating” or “free data” plans offered to consumers by telecommunications companies and the extent to which consumers benefit from free data.

As consumers, virtually every industry entices us for our business with offerings like buy one, get one free at the grocery store or free shipping with our online clothing shopping retailer. MMTC’s report finds that free data offerings in the mobile broadband space are no different.

Moreover, free data play a key role in helping to close the digital divide. For communities of color and low-income households, such benefits are especially meaningful given their above-average use of mobile broadband. Free data ensures that as many people as possible have an on-ramp to the Internet and its myriad opportunities. Free data not only means lower monthly bills, but additional data to use mobile devices as a tool for economic empowerment.

Free data is the result of increased competition in every direction of the mobile ecosystem – from devices, content providers, and networks, to name a few. The report stresses that policymakers, innovators, and other stakeholders in the conversation should not intellectualize the value of free data because for some communities —free data equals a more affordable digital connection for a better and brighter future.

To learn more, read the entire report here.