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AT&T responds to FaceTime restriction concerns

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2012
News Categories: iPad, iPhone

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Responding to concerns over its plans to restrict access to FaceTime over Cellular—including a petition urging the FCC to look into the matter—AT&T has published a lengthy post on the matter to its Public Policy Blog. “The FCC’s net neutrality rules do not regulate the availability to customers of applications that are preloaded on phones. Indeed, the rules do not require that providers make available any preloaded apps. Rather, they address whether customers are able to download apps that compete with our voice or video telephony services,” writes AT&T Senior Vice President-Federal Regulatory and Chief Privacy Officer Bob Quinn. “AT&T does not restrict customers from downloading any such lawful applications, and there are several video chat apps available in the various app stores serving particular operating systems[...]  Therefore, there is no net neutrality violation.”

He continues, “Although the rules don’t require it, some preloaded apps are available without charge on phones sold by AT&T, including FaceTime, but subject to some reasonable restrictions.  To date, all of the preloaded video chat applications on the phones we sell, including FaceTime, have been limited to Wi-Fi.  With the introduction of iOS6, we will extend the availability of the preloaded FaceTime to our mobile broadband network for our Mobile Share data plans which were designed to make more data available to consumers.  To be clear, customers will continue to be able to use FaceTime over Wi-Fi irrespective of the data plan they choose.  We are broadening our customers’ ability to use the preloaded version of FaceTime but limiting it in this manner to our newly developed AT&T Mobile Share data plans out of an overriding concern for the impact this expansion may have on our network and the overall customer experience.” FaceTime over Cellular will be available with the launch of iOS 6.

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Comments

1

How on earth can anyone possible argue a relationship between “pre-loaded” / “downloaded” apps as a justification for this limitation?  Ridiculous!

Posted by mwilgar on August 22, 2012 at 12:23 PM (PDT)

2

How on earth can anyone possible argue a relationship between “pre-loaded” / “downloaded” apps as a justification for this limitation?  Ridiculous!

Posted by Mike Wilgar on August 22, 2012 at 12:30 PM (PDT)

3

I love how they talk about FaceTIme over Wi-Fi as a ‘service’ they offer. Since when do the have any control over how I use data over Wi-Fi?  Data going to and from the 802.11 radio has nothing whatsoever to do with AT&T. How else could the iPod touch support FaceTime?

I’m sick of this ######## from AT&T. Limiting FaceTime over cellular to only those who share data plans is so insane. Even if my wife and I share data plans, we can only talk to each other, since anyone else we talk to will ALSO have to be on a data share plan. It’s so maddening.

Posted by Josh on August 22, 2012 at 4:34 PM (PDT)

4

I don’t understand AT&T’s desire to make their customers hate them.  I mean honestly, unlike in most areas there is some actual competition in the wireless cell phone space, and I assume everybody knows the iPhone is available on Verizon now right? 

I don’t even care about FaceTime that much.  I barely use it now, and would be rather unlikely to use it on cellular given my bandwidth cap.  And this still makes me angry, just because AT&T is being so blatant and arrogant about the whole thing.  Makes me want to switch just to screw them.

Posted by Glenn on August 22, 2012 at 7:04 PM (PDT)

5

And here in Canada, i thought ROGERS was evil….
Wow. Just WOW.

Posted by ahMEmon on August 23, 2012 at 7:42 AM (PDT)

6

Well here is AT&T trying to undo their mistake of offering unlimited data by limiting what the iPhone can do. They honestly believe people with unlimited data plans are going to switch to their new mobile share just to use FaceTime. We all remember when Randall Stephenson admitted finally they believe it was a mistake to offer unlimited data. So it is apparently a mistake to have loyal customers paying anywhere from $80 to $200 or more to a month on their unlimited data plans after there two year contract is up. They like every other company only see the number at the bottom of there balance sheet. Since they are having trouble making money on texting and other services they come up with a plan to charge more money to its loyal customers by offering a plan that actually cost more per month then the current plans their customers have. You actually get less for your money and all so AT&T can make a buck. They have a crappy network that is slow and drops calls all day long but they want you to pay more for this privilege. They conviently blame unlisted plan high data users for all there network problems. Maybe they should take all the bonuses they give there executives and invest in a better infrastructure. We saw a taste of the future with unlimited data plans and now AT&T wants to roll the clock back.

Posted by Eric Q. on August 26, 2012 at 3:13 PM (PDT)

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