At an interview during the Mobile World Congress going on in Spain this week, AT&T executive John Donovan told the Wall Street Journal that the company is apparently hoping to have app developers pick up some of the cost of network usage. The whole idea sounds kind of dumb, but obviously AT&T wants to make more and more money off of the climbing amounts of network usage, and one idea they've had is to have app developers subsidize the cost of that data. In other words, a developer like Rovio would pay AT&T directly, and then Angry Birds would come with some kind of a "No Network Usage" label, meaning that users wouldn't need to pay AT&T for any data that app happened to use across the network.
TechCrunch's Jordan Crook doesn't waste any time taking the charge to AT&T for this, saying that the whole thing is a "boondoggle" designed to sneak more money out of both developers and users (who are already hit by the rising costs of usage plans). The fact is that most uses don't go anywhere near AT&T's data cap, but it's in the company's best interest to make them think they're almost there, sending out warnings and cautions about how much bandwidth is being used. AT&T's Donovan claims that a plan like this would allow AT&T to avoid raising user costs, but let's be honest: They'll still go up as AT&T charges users more and more on network usage, and they'll also add on costs to developers (who also will likely pay for way more bandwidth than their users actually use).
All of that said, it's doubtful we have much input on this anyway: If AT&T does offer such a usage plan, there are probably plenty of developers willing to pay if it gains them even just a few more app users.