Some might argue it makes little difference how consumers are provided lower costs or higher value for their mobile services. Governments can mandate an end to roaming costs.
App providers and mobile service providers can defray mobile data consumption to encourage sampling of the value of Internet apps.
In other cases, the device supplier or an advertiser might subsidize data consumption.
The point is that lots of Internet and mobile ecosystem participants have reasons to encourage mobile data usage, even when it means direct costs or foregone revenue are involved.
European Union mobile roaming costs for consumers, and therefore revenue for mobile service providers, will fall seven percent in 2017, but 28 percent within the EU, when mobile operators will be unable to charge any premiums currently for international calls, text and data while roaming within the EU.
Because of EU rules to ban roaming charges, retail price reductions for calls, texting and mobile data have fallen 80 percent since 2007.
Data roaming is now up to 91 percent cheaper than in 2007, but mobile data usage has grown by 630 percent.
Global mobile roaming revenues will generate about $52 billion in 2017.
Microsoft India plans to sponsor 4G mobile data access for Bharti Airtel customers who buy Lumia 4G smartphones, though the deal is not finalized. As presently envisioned, buyers of Lumia devices will get use of twice as much data.
Airtel 4G customers purchasing the Lumia 950 or 950 XL will get free data bundled with the devices, as well as the Lumia 550.
And, of course, some mobile service providers and app providers collaborate to make no-cost access to some Internet apps available to consumers, the theory being that people will discover the value of the Internet and become “customers.”