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  • AT&T Accused of Violating FCC Rules over FaceTime over Cellular Restriction


    The digital advocacy organization, Public Knowledge, has accused AT&T of violating FCC rules on net neutrality with its new policy regarding the use of FaceTime over Cellular. Just last week, AT&T had announced that it will only allow users on its new Mobile Share data plans to use the new FaceTime over Cellular service in iOS 6. A senior staff lawyer for Public Knowledge told the New York Times that it felt AT&T was violating FCC rules which state that service providers would not “block applications that compete with the provider’s voice or video telephony services.”

    John Bergmayer, the lawyer for the organization, noted that “there is no technical reason why one data plan should be able to access FaceTime and another not.” An argument like this one could also be made for tethering the iPhone to a laptop though, however, it isn’t clear what AT&T service Public Knowledge feels FaceTime is competing with. The rule in question is designed to prevent ISP’s from blocking things such as VoIP apps or Netflix that compete with their own products.

    An AT&T spokesperson responded to the allegations with the following statement:

    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.
    As of right now, the FCC has no comment about the matter. In the meantime, iPhone owners will remain unaffected by the policy until FaceTime over Cellular is enabled in iOS 6 later this year. Those who use jailbreak tweaks to currently use FaceTime over Cellular should also be careful once the iOS 6 rolls out, as this feature might be picked up on by AT&T, similar to how tethering can be detected by AT&T as well (presumably).

    Source: New York Times
    This article was originally published in forum thread: AT&T Accused of Violating FCC Rules over FaceTime over Cellular Restriction started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 44 Comments
    1. ToddD81's Avatar
      ToddD81 -
      I recall apple stating in one of the iPhone or iOS announcements that FaceTime over 3G would be available. This was some time last year before these "shared data plans" were even announced. So basically AT&T is telling us apple lied? Wonder how they got permission to make that statement..
    1. wdpower's Avatar
      wdpower -
      What about oovoo and tango? They work, why can't they let us use FaceTime?
      Also, I have one phone, what family share plan am I supposed to do?
    1. scroogelives's Avatar
      scroogelives -
      Quote Originally Posted by ToddD81 View Post
      I recall apple stating in one of the iPhone or iOS announcements that FaceTime over 3G would be available. This was some time last year before these "shared data plans" were even announced. So basically AT&T is telling us apple lied? Wonder how they got permission to make that statement..
      Apple never lied!! Apple said it would be available via 3G but the networks are free to either allow or block it! Although I don't see what the big deal is!! FaceTime is a nice toy and nothing more!
    1. Silverado1987's Avatar
      Silverado1987 -
      Quote Originally Posted by scroogelives View Post
      Apple never lied!! Apple said it would be available via 3G but the networks are free to either allow or block it! Although I don't see what the big deal is!! FaceTime is a nice toy and nothing more!
      That's because AT&T Got the iPhone first and they didn't realize how much money they were going to spend on data so they want more money. Apple didn't lie
    1. The6uest's Avatar
      The6uest -
      Excellent.
    1. tridley68's Avatar
      tridley68 -
      Quote Originally Posted by The6uest View Post
      Excellent.
      I do not think it is a good idea for AT&T to piss off the FCC.
    1. The6uest's Avatar
      The6uest -
      Quote Originally Posted by tridley68 View Post
      I do not think it is a good idea for AT&T to piss off the FCC.
      Probably not but I like that the Public Knowledge group has brought up the fact that AT&T wants to limit FaceTime to certain data plans/packages. I'm a long time AT&T customer with multiple lines but the crap they're doing lately has pissed me off.
    1. hitman10's Avatar
      hitman10 -
      Quote Originally Posted by scroogelives View Post
      Apple never lied!! Apple said it would be available via 3G but the networks are free to either allow or block it! Although I don't see what the big deal is!! FaceTime is a nice toy and nothing more!
      I agree facetime is a nice toy but it becomes good a lot of times. Example my parents and I travel saying that, there is no long distance that needs to be worried about. Its all data.
    1. icedming's Avatar
      icedming -
      Google + hangouts is not only free over 3G but works well. It allows more than just talking to one person, it lags nowhere near as much on 3g, excellent on 4g. If facetime does not come with the ability to work across all devices its a pointless piece of **** anyways. Att is trying too make money off of something that apple did a half *** job anyways
    1. Silverado1987's Avatar
      Silverado1987 -
      Only thing we can hope for is this becomes that "bank of America" fiasco.
    1. ohthatguyagain's Avatar
      ohthatguyagain -
      Quote Originally Posted by scroogelives View Post
      Apple never lied!! Apple said it would be available via 3G but the networks are free to either allow or block it! Although I don't see what the big deal is!! FaceTime is a nice toy and nothing more!
      Nice toy?? Dude... Imagine this scenario.

      Wife says: go to store, pick up Garnier Fructis Conditioner in gel form with added minerals. Man hears: slave, go to store and buy me more hair crap.
      Man goes to store. Gets to hair section. What did wife say? *scratches head* so hard to remember... Ah, but wait, he has FaceTime over 3G. Man gets wife on FaceTime, flips camera around, tells wife to pick it out herself.
      Man comes home with correct product. Wife happy at lack of apparent failure. Man slightly less perturbed at wife's happiness.
      The end.
    1. rubiks015's Avatar
      rubiks015 -
      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.
      It's allowed to all of it's customers currently via Wi-Fi? They are expanding its availability? I didn't know AT&T allowed FaceTime over the Wi-Fi at my house....unless they're referring to being at McDonalds or something..... I have to admit...I'm a fairly satisfied AT&T customer...I have 5 iPhones on my account (family) along with a discount from my HOG membership and I really can't get a better price at this point and service hasn't been bad. Although some things are just plain stupid such as the data limitations... if you pay for data then it's up to you how you using the given service. Me...I have unlimited...so I should be able to do what I want for as long as I want when I want.... My kid has 200MB...if he blows through it I should be able to cut him off from going over or whatever other limitations as the account holder...

      just my thought.... have a good day all....
    1. teej1410's Avatar
      teej1410 -
      Quote Originally Posted by ohthatguyagain View Post
      Nice toy?? Dude... Imagine this scenario.

      Wife says: go to store, pick up Garnier Fructis Conditioner in gel form with added minerals. Man hears: slave, go to store and buy me more hair crap.
      Man goes to store. Gets to hair section. What did wife say? *scratches head* so hard to remember... Ah, but wait, he has FaceTime over 3G. Man gets wife on FaceTime, flips camera around, tells wife to pick it out herself.
      Man comes home with correct product. Wife happy at lack of apparent failure. Man slightly less perturbed at wife's happiness.
      The end.
      What's wrong with just a phone call?
    1. thazsar's Avatar
      thazsar -
      Quote Originally Posted by ohthatguyagain View Post
      Nice toy?? Dude... Imagine this scenario.

      Wife says: go to store, pick up Garnier Fructis Conditioner in gel form with added minerals. Man hears: slave, go to store and buy me more hair crap.
      Man goes to store. Gets to hair section. What did wife say? *scratches head* so hard to remember... Ah, but wait, he has FaceTime over 3G. Man gets wife on FaceTime, flips camera around, tells wife to pick it out herself.
      Man comes home with correct product. Wife happy at lack of apparent failure. Man slightly less perturbed at wife's happiness.
      The end.
      Love it!!! 👍
    1. iDeadman's Avatar
      iDeadman -
      Quote Originally Posted by teej1410 View Post
      What's wrong with just a phone call?
      Probably because you can't see through a phone call?
    1. trek-life's Avatar
      trek-life -
      Quote Originally Posted by teej1410 View Post
      What's wrong with just a phone call?
      I never understand responses like this. A person proves a good use of something, and the response is, "well why not do it the old way?" or something corny of that nature.

      My daughter and her grandparents, aunts & cousin in Hawaii talk via Facetime often. She only gets to see them once maybe twice a year and misses them, so Facetime provides the ability for them to see her grow and stay close. Fact of the matter is, it's simple for all involved.
    1. staRang's Avatar
      staRang -
      "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."

      How does... or how can AT&T claim that they provide FaceTime to their customers via Wi-Fi? They have nothing to do with a feature on Apple's phone, nor do they have anything to do with my home network, school's network, and/or office's network that provide Wi-Fi. If they were the sole ISP, then, yeah, I could see how they could claim that, but they're not.
    1. Silverado1987's Avatar
      Silverado1987 -
      Quote Originally Posted by ohthatguyagain View Post
      Nice toy?? Dude... Imagine this scenario.

      Wife says: go to store, pick up Garnier Fructis Conditioner in gel form with added minerals. Man hears: slave, go to store and buy me more hair crap.
      Man goes to store. Gets to hair section. What did wife say? *scratches head* so hard to remember... Ah, but wait, he has FaceTime over 3G. Man gets wife on FaceTime, flips camera around, tells wife to pick it out herself.
      Man comes home with correct product. Wife happy at lack of apparent failure. Man slightly less perturbed at wife's happiness.
      The end.
      WIN!

      Agreed. My mom needed spaghetti sauce for dinner. I went to public and didn't know which one. I FaceTimed her. Got the correct one. If they don't do this 3G thing. Men everywhere will starve
    1. iPhonePutz's Avatar
      iPhonePutz -
      Quote Originally Posted by The6uest View Post
      I'm a long time AT&T customer with multiple lines but the crap they're doing lately has pissed me off.
      I'm right there with you. I could care less about FaceTime, but don't like the carriers trying to limit what I do with my data. The "our customers can use it over wifi..." is the biggest load I've ever heard. I'm not paying them for wifi, I'm paying for cellular data when wifi isn't available.

      Quote Originally Posted by teej1410 View Post
      What's wrong with just a phone call?
      Or just manning up and telling her to buy her own hair crap. I'm joking ladies.

      Or a text message.
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      Quote Originally Posted by staRang View Post
      "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."

      How does... or how can AT&T claim that they provide FaceTime to their customers via Wi-Fi? They have nothing to do with a feature on Apple's phone, nor do they have anything to do with my home network, school's network, and/or office's network that provide Wi-Fi. If they were the sole ISP, then, yeah, I could see how they could claim that, but they're not.

      They did not say they provide they said available.
      Please read more carefully before blasting them on something that they never claimed.
      But if you want proof they provide wifi, have you not used wifi at Starbucks? McDonalds? AT&T provide free wifi hotspots at many locations, so yeah they provided wifi. I never used Facetime at these AT&T hotspots but I think they may work there.

      Don't use facetime at all, so don't really affect me if it is available in 3G or not.