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FCC chairman says AT&T sponsored data plans warrant watching

Regulators may keep an eye on AT&T's toll-free data plans after all.

AT&T, which announced its plans on Monday, has tried to characterize the move as simply another billing option and argued it shouldn't raise net neutrality concerns because sponsored data will be treated with the same speed and priority as traditionally billed data service.

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"Essentially it is a billing service," AT&T wireless unit CEO Ralph De La Vega told Re/code on Monday. "That's really all it is. It's nothing to do with 'Net neutrality' principles."

In a speech on Thursday, Federal Communications Commission chair Tom Wheeler was equivocal on how he viewed the service, saying that such efforts shouldn't be barred out of hand, but also stressing the need to keep networks open for companies large and small.

Read the full story on Recode.

By Ina Fried, recode.net.

CNBC's parent NBC Universal is an investor in re/code's parent Revere Digital, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.

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