The march downward in ETFs fee has been unstoppable. Over the last few years the fee war between providers, combined with increasing AUM, has driven down fees to almost negligible levels on many of the most popular ETFs. Now, it looks like free ETFs are on the way, or even ones that pay the holder. In the next year, it seems likely that free or negative fee ETFs will debut. This is possible because providers have huge economies of scale as well as good sources of non-fee income from running the funds, such as lending the securities out.
FINSUM: It is sort of amazing that it may be economical to run free or negative fee ETFs, but it seems like an inevitable outcome to the current fee war.