"A feature that we're hoping to have out sometime next year is the equivalent of 800 numbers that would say, if you take this app, this app will come without any network usage."
Donovan made the statement at Mobile World Congress, which began on Monday in Barcelona, Spain.
Basically, what Donovan is saying is that users of those apps wouldn't see any of the data used by an app applied to their data limit. For example, a user in AT&T's 3GB tier could use 5GB of data via some video streaming app, but not see an overage fee, as none of that 5GB would apply to their data plan.
It could be seen as "subsidizing" the app's data use, as opposed to subsidizing a cell phone, which is a frequently used scenario for carriers.
The proposal would also appear to violate the spirit of net neutrality, as it gives the advantage to app developers willing to pay for bandwidth.
Still, it would prove to be a solution to the content vs. bandwidth battle. It just wouldn't be as satisfying as network upgrades that would allow a return to unlimited, unthrottled bandwidth for all.