AT&T plan for advertising subsidized cellphones hits Senate roadblock

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal on Friday called on AT&T Inc to stop pursuing plans to offer cellphone plans partially subsidized by advertising that he said would undermine consumer privacy.

“Consumers expect that their phone and broadband providers are not spying on their phone calls and web browsing or using their private data for commercial gain,” Blumenthal, a Democrat, wrote in a letter to AT&T Chief Executive John Stankey.

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The request follows a Reuters interview with Stankey this week in which he discussed a plan to discount cellphone bills as early as a year from now.

“I believe there’s a segment of our customer base where given a choice, they would take some load of advertising for a $5 or $10 reduction in their mobile bill,” Stankey said in the interview.

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