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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 anactoraaron on 8/22/2012 5:02:36 PM , Rating: 2
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!

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)

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!!

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
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?

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.

Your argument essentially stops right there.


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