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  • AT&T: We Are Allowed to Block FaceTime Over Cellular


    In all of the recent criticisms against AT&T for choosing to limit FaceTime over cellular networks to those in AT&T’s shared data plans, AT&T has finally come forward with a response to those complaining about the decision in their blog. AT&T claims that because FaceTime is a pre-installed application on Apple’s devices, AT&T is allowed to block FaceTime over cellular from whomever they want, to their heart’s content:

    Quote Originally Posted by AT&T
    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 various 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.”) Therefore, there is no net neutrality violation.
    Since FaceTime is an application that is already on mobile devices from the factory, AT&T claims that it is different from any third party services that can be downloaded from the App Store and similarly used to obtain video calling features over the cellular network. AT&T also openly states that they cannot and will not limit the activity of users with third party video calling applications such as Skype, Tango, ooVoo, and many others, although AT&T refused to name any specific applications out of fear of being accused for being favorable.

    While AT&T may be playing along with the rules in their book, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the company is doing this purposely with no real reasoning besides money. Several other comparable iPhone carriers will be allowing users to use the FaceTime over cellular feature without blocking it from certain users without specific data plans or charging extra to use the feature. For this, some people may move over to different companies.

    Even though AT&T plans to block FaceTime over cellular for certain subscribers, jailbreak tweaks can allow the feature to be used on jailbroken devices. Additionally, users can always connect to a Wi-Fi network to use FaceTime, as AT&T cannot control what you do over Wi-Fi.

    According to AT&T’s blog, AT&T plans to monitor the usage of FaceTime over cellular to learn about the impacts of the feature on their cellular network. We have a feeling it won’t be much and even after AT&T finally learns this, they will probably still block most of us from it for the fun of having control over things.

    Sources: AT&T blog via 9to5Mac
    This article was originally published in forum thread: AT&T: We Are Allowed to Block FaceTime Over Cellular started by Anthony Bouchard View original post
    Comments 47 Comments
    1. mmaboi21's Avatar
      mmaboi21 -
      Kiss my...
      Face break baby
    1. Breezy215's Avatar
      Breezy215 -
      This is the first time in the 4 years I've been a loyal AT&T customer that I've seriously considered jumping ship & joining the "Big Red"... And it's not simply because of "FaceTime" limitations, it's more due to their principals behind it & their diminishing lack of care &/or loyalty to its customers... Pitiful I must say...
    1. BioFUSION's Avatar
      BioFUSION -
      Att wants to be a ****, why doesnt apple just make facetime downloadable instead of preinstalled for ios6 to be a **** back. Only makes sense, but you know it wont happen.
    1. jamesgunaca's Avatar
      jamesgunaca -
      I think a better response would have been something akin to "we want to see what kind of impact it has so we are limiting it to our shared data plan subscribers only, first" and if it isn't eating up too much bandwidth, roll it out to more subscribers. Very similar to how Apple had limited Siri to iPhone 4S first and then are now rolling it out to iPads to manage server load properly and make sure the service is scalable.

      But, no, instead we get AT&T saying "we're allowed to do this, so STFU" because the reality is, they don't want to have to keep paying to improve their network just so we can video chat using an integrated service like FaceTime.

      I swear, if there was another carrier that would give me unlimited data on the new iPhone with LTE, I'd tell AT&T to get bent. I won't go Verizon because they are basically the other side of the same coin.
    1. x_IMMORTAL_x's Avatar
      x_IMMORTAL_x -
      I agree with you Breezy. All this ******** AT&T has been doing has me thinking of switching to verizon as well. The only thing holding me back is my AT&T grandfathered Unlimited data plan.
    1. patoons's Avatar
      patoons -
      Quote Originally Posted by x_IMMORTAL_x View Post
      I agree with you Breezy. All this ******** AT&T has been doing has me thinking of switching to verizon as well. The only thing holding me back is my AT&T grandfathered Unlimited data plan.
      well my friend, next month tmobile will be offering a truly unlimited plan with no throttling. once they upgrade their network to accommodate iphone, I may jump. AT&T is in a cushy spot now since while vz and sprint offer iphone, AT&T is the only official gsm carrier in the us that does.
    1. hadzo's Avatar
      hadzo -
      What's with all the hype over this anyway? Tango, Skype and few other do the job and if not better than face time. To my knowledge face time is limited to i Devices platform only so the mentioned apps have another advantage over face time.



      ATT is surely ruining their reputation with many recent policy changes. People are starting to notice and I think ATT should pay attention and realize the source of their revenue.

      point in case:
      This is the first time in the 4 years I've been a loyal AT&T customer that I've seriously considered jumping ship & joining the "Big Red"... And it's not simply because of "FaceTime" limitations, it's more due to their principals behind it & their diminishing lack of care &/or loyalty to its customers... Pitiful I must say...
    1. Carvensno's Avatar
      Carvensno -
      Last time I looked FaceTime isn't a installed app. I don't see a app icon on my screen. It's a feature that works with the phone app. Just like yahoo. Yahoo is a app but the video chat is a feature thats part of the yahoo app.
    1. hadzo's Avatar
      hadzo -
      Quote Originally Posted by Carvensno View Post
      Last time I looked FaceTime isn't a installed app. I don't see a app icon on my screen. It's a feature that works with the phone app. Just like yahoo. Yahoo is a app but the video chat is a feature thats part of the yahoo app.
      It's definitely an application but I agree with your point of view. Furthermore, what is a difference between it and say Tango or Skype? - none they both serve the same purpose and can be either turned off or uninstalled. I think ATT is riding a thin line here and just making up excuses for revenue. As I said a post earlier, they need to realize the source of their revenue. I guess bribing people into the """"HORRIBLE"""" shared plans sounded like an idea to someone at ATT.
    1. midnyt's Avatar
      midnyt -
      so, apple could pull the app from being pre-installed and make it a download like iBooks. problem solved. That would be funny.
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Carvensno View Post
      Last time I looked FaceTime isn't a installed app. I don't see a app icon on my screen. It's a feature that works with the phone app. Just like yahoo. Yahoo is a app but the video chat is a feature thats part of the yahoo app.
      It actually is an application. The reason for the icon being absent on the iPhone is because of the law of design – Apple does not like redundancy. The iPad and iPod touch lack the Phone application and therefore have the standalone FaceTime application on the home screen:



      Although if AT&T can use loopholes to their advantage, why can't we? It is a good point that you point out.
    1. ggonxhi's Avatar
      ggonxhi -
      Tmobile please get the iPhone.
    1. bwhitaker3's Avatar
      bwhitaker3 -
      These are the times I hate being an AT&T customer
    1. Silvio6's Avatar
      Silvio6 -
      This decision will also impact other people, as you can not do a Facetime with someone who is using AT&T non-shared dara plan, even if you are on wifi or with a different operator ...
      This really sucks ..
    1. claustin's Avatar
      claustin -
      Quote Originally Posted by midnyt View Post
      so, apple could pull the app from being pre-installed and make it a download like iBooks. problem solved. That would be funny.
      It's not a "standalone" app on the iPhone. It's baked into the phone app/OS. No app on the screen like with the iPad or Mac (because they don't have phone apps.) Now that's not to say apple couldn't separate the two, a la Music and Video apps, and make it downloadable. I'd love to see it, actually, as a big SCREW YOU to AT&T for hindering the iPhone at every turn (first MMS, then cutting data plans, etc.) Actually, I'd love it if they pulled the iPhone from AT&T entirely, just for being so blatantly anti-consumer, which is the antithesis of Apple.

      Edit: Ha. Anthony beat me to half my point. Bravo, sir.

      Quote Originally Posted by Silvio6 View Post
      This decision will also impact other people, as you can not do a Facetime with someone who is using AT&T non-shared dara plan, even if you are on wifi or with a different operator ...
      This really sucks ..
      Why wouldn't it work over wifi? They're only blocking it over cellular data.
    1. Ajallan246's Avatar
      Ajallan246 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      It actually is an application. The reason for the icon being absent on the iPhone is because of the law of design – Apple does not like redundancy. The iPad and iPod touch lack the Phone application and therefore have the standalone FaceTime application on the home screen:

      Although if AT&T can use loopholes to their advantage, why can't we? It is a good point that you point out.
      I'm glad you pointed this out. A lot of people don't understand the slight differences between the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touches (as well as the different models). I solely doubt that Apple would even consider making it an App available in the App Store. Apple prides itself in saying that all of their devices are FaceTime available as soon as you unbox it.
    1. BenderRodriguez's Avatar
      BenderRodriguez -
      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      It actually is an application. The reason for the icon being absent on the iPhone is because of the law of design – Apple does not like redundancy. The iPad and iPod touch lack the Phone application and therefore have the standalone FaceTime application on the home screen:



      Although if AT&T can use loopholes to their advantage, why can't we? It is a good point that you point out.
      Good thing Unrestrictor Exists am I right?
    1. PokemonDesigner's Avatar
      PokemonDesigner -
      This is why I chose Verizon. They don't block any built in features of iPhones or androids. They let all of it go (except tethering for a hotspot) for free and no extra cost unless you go over your plan. Screw you AT&T. And I just wanted to say that FaceTime over 3G is amazingly helpful when a friend with only an iPod wants to call me and I can just FaceTime anywhere at anytime.
    1. Luie82's Avatar
      Luie82 -
      I've been thinking about switching to the V but a $400 activation fee is a hell of a lot of money specially after paying $400 for the phone
    1. danelgran's Avatar
      danelgran -
      Quote Originally Posted by Breezy215 View Post
      This is the first time in the 4 years I've been a loyal AT&T customer that I've seriously considered jumping ship & joining the "Big Red"... And it's not simply because of "FaceTime" limitations, it's more due to their principals behind it & their diminishing lack of care &/or loyalty to its customers... Pitiful I must say...
      AT&T is crazy stupid!!! I've been an ATT customer since iPHone 1....but once iPhone 5 comes out with Verizon LTE4 goodness.....it's buh-bye ATT!!!
      And I'm sure I'm not the only person thinking this!!!