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Mobile Providers Could Charge Per Service

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Imagine a world where your mobile phone provider could track everything you were doing and depending on what data you access, would charge you correspondingly.

Science fiction? We’re afraid not. It appears as if two companies have been outlining to major players in the US mobile market exactly where they think the future lies. A leaked PowerPoint presentation, which was presented at a webinar jointly hosted by Allot Communications and Openet, shows that in the future mobile phone providers could track what data their customers are accessing and charge them differing amounts for each service.

Allot Communications and Openet count Vodafone, Verizon and AT&T among their customers. Not exactly small fish then. One of the slides (see above) from the presentation shows what a Vodafone customer could be charged in the future for accessing certain services. For example accessing Facebook would cost 2cents per MB while YouTube would cost 50cents a month. However Vodafone services would be free for the customer. This could allow Vodafone to undercut its competitors in areas such as music or movie streaming products.

In what is a nightmare scenario for advocates of net neutrality, this slide seems to give us a clear indication of how things could go in the near future and this quote from the webinar is enough to put the willies up anyone net neutrality advocate:
"{We use} a number of different methods to accurately identify the application -- methods like heuristic analysis, behavioral and historical analysis, deep packet inspection, and a number of other techniques. What's key is that we have the best application identification available on the market, which means that even applications that are encrypted or use other methods to evade detection will be correctly identified and classified... We essentially feed this real-time information about traffic and application usage into the policy and charging system. Each subscriber has a particular service plan that they sign up for, and they're as generic or as personalized as the operator wants."

In the States the Federal Commission for Communications (FCC) is due to rule on whether to apply fairness rules to some of the ISPs and it has been rumoured that they will exempt wireless internet providers which would open the door for these type of billing options. And we all know, if it works in the States, it won’t be long before we could be seeing something similar over here in the UK.

Source: Wired

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