AT&T's FaceTime Limitations Might Cause Trouble with FCC Rules
August 20, 2012 11:06 PM
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AT&T might be violating the FCC's Open Internet Rules
AT&T may have landed itself in hot water with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over its limitations on iOS 6's FaceTime abilities.
Earlier this week, it was announced that AT&T would
limit FaceTime to 3G/4G mobile share data plans
. Those with older tiered or unlimited data plans are excluded, but users with any kind of plan can use the service through Wi-Fi.
It's unclear exactly why AT&T made the decision to do this, but many seem to suggest that AT&T is trying to "smoke out" users clinging to unlimited plans and force them to more lucrative [for AT&T]
Mobile Share data plans
Clearly, this won't sit well with the FCC, which will likely see this as an anticompetitive move. Nonprofit group Public Knowledge has already said that AT&T is violating the FCC's Open Internet Rules, which state that carrier's can't restrict customers from using applications that compete with their own "voice or video telephony services."
“There is no technical reason why one data plan should be able to access FaceTime and another not,” said John Bergmayer, a senior staff lawyer for Public Knowledge.
Mark Sigel, a spokesman for AT&T, countered the accusations by reiterating, “FaceTime is available to all of our customers today over Wi-Fi, and we’re now expanding its availability even further as an added benefit of our new Mobile Share data plans.”
Apple reportedly plans to announce its next-generation iPhone, which will pack the iOS 6 mobile operating system, on September 12. It will likely be released shortly thereafter, but for the new iPhones running on AT&T's network, it remains to be seen what will happen with this FaceTime issue.
The New York Times
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RE: Rules Rules Rules
8/21/2012 10:23:14 AM
I agree that this doesn't seem to violate the FCC rules regarding competition, but I disagree that it is a bandwidth issue. If that were the case ATT would simply not allow it, clearly it is a stab at gobbling up the few remaining unlimited plans.
Morally I tend to agree that just seems wrong, however I really don't see a legal precedence for adding features to a different plan to entice users to switch. If they were taking something away from the grandfathered plans that would be different, but they are adding value to a plan they see as more profitable. They aren't really obligated to keep the old plans up to date feature wise, no more than say MS is obligated to always support legacy OS's.
Look at this as DirectX 10, no technical reason why it wouldn't work on XP it was purely done to entice people off of an EOL platform.
"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
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