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AT&T claims it didn't violate any FCC rules and that it doesn't HAVE to make any preloaded apps available

Rumors recently started circulating that AT&T may have violated Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules by limiting FaceTime availability on Apple's iOS 6. AT&T, likely feeling threatened by possible issues with the feds, has finally responded to these concerns.
 
Here's a little backstory for those who haven't been keeping up: AT&T recently announced that it would restrict video chat application FaceTime, which is preloaded onto Apple's iPhone, to 3G/4G Mobile Share data plans only for the next-generation iPhone. Those with older tiered or unlimited data plans will be excluded. However, all users, no matter the data plan, can use FaceTime over Wi-Fi. This angered customers and watchdog groups, who claimed that AT&T was limiting FaceTime because it was direct competition with its own voice or video telephony services. This was seen as a violation FCC rules (even thought the FCC hasn't declared this yet).
 
Now, AT&T has offered an explanation. It said that FaceTime has been used over Wi-Fi for years. The company believed it was expanding FaceTime's availability by now offering it on AT&T Mobile Share data plans in addition to Wi-Fi, and mentioned that no FCC rules regulate availability of preloaded apps to customers. 
 
AT&T added that there are only two FCC rules for carriers: make business practices and information transparent, and don't block applications that may compete with their own. According to AT&T, it has violated neither. 
 
"AT&T's plans for FaceTime will not violate either requirement," said the company in a statement. "Our policies regarding FaceTime will be fully transparent to all consumers, and no one has argued to the contrary. There is no transparency issue here.
 
"Nor is there a blocking issue. 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. AT&T does not restrict customers from downloading any such lawful applications, and there are several video chat apps available in the several app stores serving particular operating systems.
 
"I won't name any of them for fear that I will be accused by these same groups of discriminating in favor of those apps. But just go to your app store on your device and type 'video chat.'"
 
AT&T further added that it does not have a competing video chat service; hence that was not the reason for limiting FaceTime to Mobile Share data plans. The real reason, according to the carrier, is that the expansion of FaceTime to data plans instead of just Wi-Fi could strain the network, so it just limited to the Mobile Share data plans. 
 
However, this will likely still upset customers who are paying for data and expect that AT&T won't restrict what they access when paying for such services. If you're paying a pretty penny each month for data (and we all know data isn't cheap), it doesn't seem unreasonable to expect the carrier to build up its network to handle additional bandwidth. 

Source: AT&T



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RE: Alternative apps?
By tayb on 8/22/2012 4:42:51 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I guess you just don't know how or never tried to link your skype contacts to your phone contacts. It's incredibly easy. When I pull up my contacts and... let's say... select my dad... the option to video call via skype is listed at the bottom (which lists his linked skype nickname). One more tap with a finger and skype opens and places the video call -NOTE I did this exact thing while typing this comment.


Thanks... I had just absolutely no idea you could store more contact information than a phone number! (sarcasm) The problem with this is that the vast majority of people don't use Skype at all much less have Skype installed and running on their mobile phones. Nothing is required to use FT. I don't need to know your Skype account, you don't need to have Skype, and neither of us has to be signed in. The devices just simply need to be turned on. The obvious limitation with FT is that it only works for iOS devices but for iOS to iOS video chatting there is nothing easier or more convenient.

quote:
Sure it needs to be baked in for Apple users since Apple users are void of common sense to the point that they shouldn't even have the damn phones to begin with.


Void of common sense? It seems to me that using a bit of common sense would have presented the arguments I mentioned above... but I guess not. Maybe someone should take away your phone?


RE: Alternative apps?
By Reclaimer77 on 8/22/2012 4:53:41 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The problem with this is that the vast majority of people don't use Skype at all much less have Skype installed and running on their mobile phones. Nothing is required to use FT.


That's the weakest fucking argument I ever heard! Get the fuck out of here with that.

Yeah okay, just close the App Store and "bake in" every app, because apparently installing apps to you Apple morons is still some difficult process.

And you're making NO common sense because the OP asked for an alternative. Your arguments are stupid as hell.


RE: Alternative apps?
By tayb on 8/22/2012 5:05:06 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
That's the weakest fucking argument I ever heard! Get the fuck out of here with that.


No it's not. Less than 5% of my contacts have Skype accounts and an even smaller percentage actively uses Skype. I don't even have a freaking iPhone, I'm just telling it like it is. For iOS to iOS video communications there is NOTHING easier than FT. You're welcome to your own opinion but you are just bullshitting if you say otherwise.

quote:
And you're making NO common sense because the OP asked for an alternative. Your arguments are stupid as hell.


I responded to YOU, not the OP. When I quote you in the response and respond directly to YOUR statements I thought it would be obvious but perhaps I'm giving you too much credit.


RE: Alternative apps?
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/22/2012 5:46:36 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not a big proponent of Reclaimer but he has you by the balls here. Apple's FT is a new spin on something that has been available for a long time on other devices. I will credit Apple's FT with jumpstarting the phone market to have both front and rear cameras on cell phones but every other device maker jumped on that ship quickly. Skype is one of the best video calling applications on the market and for years was ahead of the competition in the PC world.

Now to tear your argument down a bit let's disect some pieces.
quote:
Less than 5% of my contacts have Skype accounts and an even smaller percentage actively uses Skype.

Your personal experience while useful is hardly representative of an ecosystem. Let's face it, none of us has thousands of contacts so our point of view is in the 1/100000000 range of scope. Now that we have that out of the way, you may be surprised to know that Skype has over 31 million users and is used by many businesses worldwide to do business each day.
http://www.statisticbrain.com/skype-statistics/

quote:
I don't even have a freaking iPhone, I'm just telling it like it is.

While it is generally acceptable to assume most Apple owners are complete retards, there are also plenty of semi-educated and/or working class people that use their device for practical things. Some will be used by professionals to do business (as shocking as that may seem). Professionals do not need to deal with something that only works with some other people who may be at work on a computer, or on an Android phone, or heck even a Windows Phone or Blackberry. Applications like Skype don't have any silly barrier or ecosystem lock in like Apple.

quote:
For iOS to iOS video communications there is NOTHING easier than FT.

This is likely accurate, unless you try to do it over a 3G/4G connection, in which case you are screwed. This largely has to do with Apple's inability to use resources efficiently. The iOS is the biggest devourer of carrier bandwidth and data in the environment. The FT application is not efficient and devours bandwidth, hence why AT&T has restricted it to WiFi for so long. I don't blame them, run a usage meter on an iPhone for a month that gives you an app by app breakdown, that thing is hungry.

quote:
You're welcome to your own opinion but you are just bullshitting if you say otherwise.

Everyone is welcome to their own opinion, no matter how wrong yours or theirs may be.

quote:
I responded to YOU, not the OP. When I quote you in the response and respond directly to YOUR statements I thought it would be obvious but perhaps I'm giving you too much credit.

Alternatives were asked for and Reclaimer gave the most widely used one by the industry. It was only the smart-ass remark that it was somehow crippled and clunky on iOS that drew you into the firing line to be sniped by the DT masses that have considerably more exposure to the software ecosystem than you seem to.


RE: Alternative apps?
By Reclaimer77 on 8/22/2012 9:40:26 PM , Rating: 2
Great post, I agree with everything said. However....

quote:
I'm not a big proponent of Reclaimer but


Why do people feel the need to preface their comments like this? Do I have AIDS? Are people afraid of getting Reclaimer AIDS if they get too close to me, or are seen agreeing with me on something?

God I hate the "group think" mentality. I'm not some leaper here. Don't be afraid of looking "unpopular" by standing with someone when you know they are right.


RE: Alternative apps?
By amanojaku on 8/23/2012 10:06:14 AM , Rating: 2
Your posts would be more acceptable if they weren't so inflammatory. You often call people names without provocation, and you have clear biases that you refuse to reconsider (I'm not talking racial bias). You make a lot of good, objective points at times, but it's rare. I think people automatically rate you down without even reading your comments these days. I've disagreed with a lot of your down votes, but you got a history dogging you.

At least you aren't Tony Swash, macdevdude, etc... who are clearly trolls.


RE: Alternative apps?
By Reclaimer77 on 8/23/2012 10:27:33 AM , Rating: 2
Who doesn't have biases? Obviously I'm a completely flawed person, sure. But who isn't?

quote:
You make a lot of good, objective points at times, but it's rare.


Well I strongly disagree. Rare? Come on! Right nobody has opinions, everyone is just purely "objective", I'm the crazy one.

quote:
At least you aren't Tony Swash, macdevdude, etc... who are clearly trolls.


No no, they give trolls a bad name.


RE: Alternative apps?
By amanojaku on 8/23/2012 11:46:41 AM , Rating: 2
Everyone has bias, but you should be open to new ideas. If someone says something you don't like you tend to label that person as a commie, socialist, moron, idiot, tard, etc... You could just say you disagree, state your case, and leave off the insults. If someone replies with a statement that makes sense then at least consider it. It's up to you to accept what's being said, but I get the feeling that you never want to hear anything that contradicts your point of view.

For example, I used to be against nuclear power because I believed all the FUD. Then I read articles that provided compelling facts, and now I am a staunch advocate of nuclear power. I'm a tree-hugger, and I support nuclear power. That's what I mean by being objective. My personal feelings don't prevent me from hearing other points of view. Granted, a lot of people on this site make poor arguments, including me.
quote:
Well I strongly disagree. Rare? Come on! Right nobody has opinions, everyone is just purely "objective", I'm the crazy one.
If you made more responses like this I think you'd have a better reputation. You disagreed, but you didn't insult me, and you pointed out a fact: most people have difficulty being objective.

Regarding Tony and Co, I try not to insult them, even though they are clearly trolls (insult) . Instead, I like to provide facts and statistics that refute their claims, not for them, but for other people who will actually read the information. I like to think of this site as a place to share ideas so that we can all benefit.

/naive optimist


RE: Alternative apps?
By senecarr on 8/23/2012 1:01:47 PM , Rating: 1
Honestly, the labeling that's obviously inflammatory is what kept the whole line of comments from being a good, valid exchange.
If Reclaimer hadn't put out "appletards" and "fuck that ecosystem", he'd probably get a lot more people considering Skype, as is, he did the cardinal sin of promoting ideas: alienate your own audience.
Tayb didn't do any better. He could have simply stated the easy of FT and how a lot of iPhone users don't have it, and would have made a good point. He unfortunately had include the phrase "idiotic comment" in reference to Skype having been on the iPhone for years.


RE: Alternative apps?
By Reclaimer77 on 8/23/2012 1:20:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
he'd probably get a lot more people considering Skype, as is, he did the cardinal sin of promoting ideas: alienate your own audience.


But we don't have a Pro-Apple audience. We WANT them to be alienated, that's the point. As is we only have maybe 3 or 4 Apple fans left on Daily Tech, and hopefully soon even less.


RE: Alternative apps?
By anactoraaron on 8/22/2012 5:02:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The problem with this is that the vast majority of people don't use Skype at all much less have Skype installed and running on their mobile phones.


WOW that's a valid argument... because before FT NO ONE ever wanted to video chat... And who said anyone has to be on their phone to Skype? I can skype ANYONE on their PC or phone. Skype has been around MUCH longer and has many more users and can be used to video chat for free with anyone in the world. It's not just limited to iPhone users. What if you have a friend that has WP7 or Android or doesn't have a cell phone...? No FT for you. But hey, YOU COULD SKYPE THEM!

quote:
Thanks... I had just absolutely no idea you could store more contact information than a phone number!


Then you obviously never figured out how to leave a frequently used app (skype) running so you could always be available for a video chat either!! /s -(maybe not for you)

quote:
Nothing is required to use FT. I don't need to know your Skype account, you don't need to have Skype, and neither of us has to be signed in


Except a wifi signal is REQUIRED for almost all users for FT to work. I guess you will always need to know whether or not your friend that you want to FT with is in wifi range... better call them first!!

quote:
Maybe someone should take away your phone?


Exactly, someone should take away YOUR phone.


RE: Alternative apps?
By tayb on 8/22/2012 5:18:04 PM , Rating: 1
Reading comprehension is obviously not your strong suit.

I didn't think it was possible to be more clear that for iOS to iOS communication FT is the best option. I always mentioned that the biggest limitation was that it only worked for iOS devices. You must have missed that entire section???

Do you want me to come over and draw it out on a poster with pretty colors? Most people DO NOT USE SKYPE. Read it slowly. Twice maybe. Your argument essentially stops right there. Skype is great for communication outside of iOS but it is inferior to FT for iOS to iOS communication.

Skype is inferior to FT for iOS to iOS communcation. Otherwise, it's great.

Skype is inferior to FT for iOS to iOS communcation. Otherwise, it's great.

There, I said it four times. Perhaps now it will penetrate your thick skull and register with the soft tissue inside.


RE: Alternative apps?
By Reclaimer77 on 8/22/2012 5:25:33 PM , Rating: 2
He kicked your ass. Your arguments are irrelevant no matter how many times you repeat them. Bye bye now.


RE: Alternative apps?
By anactoraaron on 8/22/2012 5:58:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Skype is great for communication outside of iOS but it is inferior to FT for iOS to iOS communication.


Please explain how the 7 people that I know that have iPhones all use Skype instead of FT?

quote:
Most people DO NOT USE SKYPE.


Saying this four times or a million times will not make it true, no matter how much you want it to be.

quote:
Your argument essentially stops right there.


EXACTLY.


RE: Alternative apps?
By GotThumbs on 8/23/2012 8:44:26 AM , Rating: 2
" iOS to iOS video chatting there is nothing easier"

and that's how Apple likes it. They'd prefer you only buy and use Apple products. Once you own one..your hooked (Or trapped). The number of sheep walking into the walled garden Apple has built continues to grow...until those Sheep start realizing the trade offs. I agree Apple has great marketing and great shell designers...but a prison is a prison. Apple is not unique it that its products do what no others can do. Apples true asset is its followers (dare I say worshipers?) continue to buy the same products over and over as they make modest improvements to the specs. How many people rush to buy the next IProduct just to be the first on the block? Just look at Apples profits last year and you'll know its most of their current IProduct owners.

Try and download/add content on any IProduct without using Apples portal software. You can't with out Jail Braking the device. This means you have no personal choices and are restricted to using only their services. Just try to sample music from all the online stores and see which one requires you to install their software.... Only Apple requires this.

Hey its your money. Spend it how you wish, but don't expect everyone to drink the cool-aid.

Best wishes.


"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain














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