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AT&T Promises They'll Stop Blocking Video Apps by End of 2013
By Which Most Unlimited Users Will Be on Metered Plans
by Karl Bode 09:03AM Tuesday May 21 2013
After taking heat from consumer groups last year for blocking Facetime video chat, AT&T made waves last week by deciding to block the new cross-platform and device video chat functionality in Google Hangouts from running over their speedy new LTE network. As they did during the Facetime debacle, AT&T made the obscure claim that they can block any application that comes pre-loaded on a device, even if technically Hangouts doesn't come pre-loaded (AT&T's just choosing language carefully to dodge wiggle through net neutrality rule loopholes). They also tried to blame developers and handset makers for their own decision to block the apps.

Now AT&T has issued a second, follow up statement that doesn't make a whole lot more sense than the first one did, and again tries to place the blame at the feet of OS and device makers. AT&T does, however, promise that they'll stop blocking video chat apps from running over their network by the end of this year:
quote:
For video chat apps that come pre-loaded on devices, we currently give all OS and device makers the ability for those apps to work over cellular for our customers who are on Mobile Share or Tiered plans. Apple, Samsung and BlackBerry have chosen to enable this for their pre-loaded video chat apps. And by mid-June, we’ll have enabled those apps over cellular for our unlimited plan customers who have LTE devices from those three manufacturers.

Throughout the second half of this year, we plan to enable pre-loaded video chat apps over cellular for all our customers, regardless of data plan or device; that work is expected to be complete by year end.

Today, all of our customers can use any mobile video chat app that they download from the Internet, such as Skype.
Note the underlined bit, because this is what it's all about. With Facetime, AT&T first blocked it for all users, then only blocked it for users who switched to from grandfathered unlimited data accounts to their metered plans. You can assume something similar will happen here. In other words this isn't really technical (AT&T's LTE network is currently ranked the fastest available in the States), it's a way to bully unlimited users on to costlier plans. It's also a network neutrality violation, regardless of AT&T's choice of language.

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Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1

Unlimited?

So I take it from AT&T's statement that they will finally unblock FaceTime and Google Hangout for grandfathered unlimited customers?

It's about time. Now if only they'd allow tethering.

ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Evanston, IL

Re: Unlimited?

They met their conversion quota.

Mike
Premium,Mod
join:2000-09-17
Pittsburgh, PA
kudos:1
Except they would need to keep the same exact phone and not upgrade ever.

morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
00000

Re: Unlimited?

Or buy future phones at full price.

Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
said by Mike:

Except they would need to keep the same exact phone and not upgrade ever.

Unless something has changed in the last 6 months, if you are Grandfathered under unlimited with AT&T you don't lose that plan when you renew the contract. I've done so once already and am still on unlimited.

Verizon yes, AT&T no.
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tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY

why stay?

why would at&t customers stay on metered plans, fancy phones and halfway decent coverage aside?

the prices these companies charge for data is obscene-- soon the profits will be in the text message ROI stratosphere, if not there already.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Did they ever explain.....

Did they ever explain why it was (is now) OK for people "who are on Mobile Share or Tiered plans" to use the application(s), but not those on unlimited?

Did the application suddenly use less bandwidth during usage if you were limited by a data pool?

Did the restricted data pool have some kind of magical video app optimization?

Did it suddenly become OK to "congest" the network provided you were willing to pay more for it and willing to pay overages?

Twaddle

@sbcglobal.net

Re: Did they ever explain.....

Bingo,
You asked the same questions I would and have regarding the subject of bandwidth. Somehow network congestion and bandwidth limitations fly out the door if a client moves up to a more expensive plan and willing/forced to pay more money. That tells me that there is no TECHNICAL issue involved but purely a monetary grab of a larger piece of the action while crying that network congestion and bandwidth limitations are teh culprit. Horse excrement is the response I give them.

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK
said by Skippy25:

Did it suddenly become OK to "congest" the network provided you were willing to pay more for it and willing to pay overages?

Tsk. Tsk. Shame on you on not buying the "Network management" line. You're supposed to believe what they tell you.

Pretty obvious this is much more about "congesting" their revenue stream with excessive profits and protecting legacy business models.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

Twaddle

@sbcglobal.net

Blocking is BS

ATT should not be blocking diddly squat in the way of apps that are on a clients phone. The only exception would/could be those apps that are proven to be detrimental to the well-being of other clients or the infrastructure(think virus Trojan rootkit etc.). ATT just wants all the marbles from their clients not just a portion and app blocking is just another way to make their share as big as they can possibly get it. Client is paying for the ability to connect to the LTE infrastructure and transfer data to and from their device not the lame-assed ATT excuses. Customers considering ATT should run away very quickly!!!

joako
Premium
join:2000-09-07
/dev/null
kudos:6

Re: Blocking is BS

Well in my case they did not block or notify my of an iPhone virus. I only noticed it after I upgraded my firewall.

Facetime over 3G works on my iPhone but if I reset it back to factory defaults it would go back to blocked. I managed to loophole my way into unlimited data plan after they stopped offering it.
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dfc888
Premium
join:2003-07-22
San Bruno, CA

Unlimited user here and...

My Facetime was already ON over LTE this morning! Yay!

powerspec88
Premium
join:2007-03-11
Independence, MO
Reviews:
·SureWest Internet

Re: Unlimited user here and...

So does mine now. Tested and works great over LTE.

I did not have to enable it myself, it was set to on when I checked it. Wonder if the phone knew AT&T lifted the block?
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KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

Once low caps, high overages are in...

... why would you block anything, because it's pure profit, $$$$ every second.

How noble of at&t.