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AT&T Defends Controversial FaceTime Policy Following Widespread Backlash

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the ceo-demands-more-blood dept.

AT&T 220

zacharye writes "AT&T is wasting no time hitting back at critics of its decision to limit the use of popular video chat app FaceTime over its cellular network to users who sign up for its shared data plans. In a post on the company's official public policy blog on Wednesday, AT&T chief privacy officer Bob Quinn sneered at criticisms that restricting FaceTime over cellular to shared data plans violates the Federal Communications Commission's network neutrality rules for wireless networks."

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It probably won't make a difference, but... (5, Informative)

Given M. Sur (870067) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081259)

File a complaint against AT&T here: http://www.fcc.gov/complaints [fcc.gov]

Re:It probably won't make a difference, but... (5, Insightful)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081489)

If that fails, you could try one of the complaint departments AT&T actually listens to.

http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/index.html [verizonwireless.com]
http://www.t-mobile.com/ [t-mobile.com]
http://shop.sprint.com/mysprint/shop/phone_wall.jsp?filterString=apple&isDeeplinked=true&INTNAV=ATG:HE:iPhones [sprint.com]

Re:It probably won't make a difference, but... (-1)

BriggsBU (1138021) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081921)

Could you let us know when you find one? Because as a former rep for AT&T, complaining to customer service just gets you laughed at in the break room.

Re:It probably won't make a difference, but... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082033)

Whoosh.

(The joke was to change cell phone carrier)

Re:It probably won't make a difference, but... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082039)

Did you look at the Dude's links? Are you even listening to the Dude's story? Donny, you're like a child that wonders in on his parents' argument...

Re:It probably won't make a difference, but... (4, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082133)

It is typical of Ex AT&T CSR's or Reps to be a bit "special" and not able to read or communicate. Give him a break.

Re:It probably won't make a difference, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082087)

When you were an AT&T rep did you also listen to complaints from Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint users? He was implying that AT&T will only listen to complaints when subscriber numbers drop, hence the links to competitors.

Re:It probably won't make a difference, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082095)

Not sure how you missed the joke. I mean please, this is Slashdot. No one is expecting you the read the article... but at least read the comment you're replying to.

Re:It probably won't make a difference, but... (2)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082097)

If you read GPP, you'll notice that the "complaint department" actually cited are AT&T's competitors. I.e., complaining with your feet and your dollars.

Of course, that neglects the rather painful impacts of walking away from a brand-stinking-new mobile contract in the U.S.: early termination fee, not being able to use your brand new device on the new network or under the new contract, general douchebaggish resistance from your prior provider to your migration (like slow-rolling phone number transfers...)

Network provider lock-in is good business for the provider. It neutralizes the practical effect of customer discontent and keeps the monthly fees rolling in. As long as customers keep taking shit, providers are happy to keep selling it.

Re:It probably won't make a difference, but... (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082463)

Of course, that neglects the rather painful impacts of walking away from a brand-stinking-new mobile contract in the U.S.: early termination fee, not being able to use your brand new device on the new network or under the new contract, general douchebaggish resistance from your prior provider to your migration (like slow-rolling phone number transfers...)

I learned my lesson and now do prepay. There are a few disadvantages, but totally worth it to save $30 or so per month with no contracts to deal with - and it's impossible to have a "surprise" phone bill.

Re:It probably won't make a difference, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082429)

Whenever I have to complain about a telecom, I do it to the Public Service Commision.

Re:It probably won't make a difference, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082025)

forgot Virgin Mobile USA

It has the Iphone 4S and the HTC EVO V 4G (which I have personally and love)
and actually good prices and better 'caps's they only slow you down to 100k if you go over the cap

http://www.virginmobileusa.com/

Re:It probably won't make a difference, but... (1)

Andrio (2580551) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082317)

Not trying to discredit Virgin Mobile, but since it runs on Sprint's network, being 'throttled' to 100kbps sounds like it'll make your internet faster once you hit that cap. No, that's not a joke! I literally get speeds under that on Sprint's 3G (and my phone bill is almost 100 a month!)

If you like in any of South FL, don't get Sprint if you want fast data. I can't tell you how rare it is for 3G speeds to exceed 200kbps.

Re:It probably won't make a difference, but... (1)

sortadan (786274) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081939)

Or just use Google Hangouts or Skype. They both let you talk to people on PCs and work over 3g and are free.

Re:It probably won't make a difference, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082089)

Try Tango. Works pretty much everywhere.

Re:It probably won't make a difference, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082417)

None of these are viable options for the vast majority of Mac/iPad/iPhone users. After all they chose Apple, which in my admittedly limited experience, suggests they have no interest in figuring out what settings will make something work.

Re:It probably won't make a difference, but... (2)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082695)

You can also file a complaint against At&t here [metropcs.com] here [cincinnatibell.com] , and here [republicwireless.com] . I heard there are some other places too but I'd suggest one of these guys first.

Is anyone surprised by this? (4, Interesting)

a-zarkon! (1030790) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081271)

I know I'm not. They can't upgrade the infrastructure fast enough to keep up with the explosion in devices and bandwidth-hungry applications, so they rate-limit, restrict, and jack the rates on an increasingly over-subscribed (with corresponding decreases in performance) in the interest of keeping things just usable enough to not lose too many customers.

It's not like there are a lot of alternative providers out there who offer better service or more compelling pricing....

Re:Is anyone surprised by this? (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081395)

Bullshit!
They just don't want to bother upgrading, it is more profitable to rate limit and jack up prices.

Re:Is anyone surprised by this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082599)

But...but...but the Free Market (TM) is supposed to take care of all this. It must be over regulation! If we just get the government out of this, then some entrepeneurs will start their own cell networks and give people what they want. Oh, that requires billions in infrastructure and the only way to get it is to promise investors you'll rip off consuumers too? Well, uh, I don't know but it must be the government's fault and the free market will take care of this.

Re:Is anyone surprised by this? (4, Informative)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081409)

AT&T actually have bigger revenue then Apple [yahoo.com] and net profit in billions of USD, they could do a whole lot better job.

Re:Is anyone surprised by this? (4, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081727)

Actaully Apple has nearly 4 times the operating income and 6 times the net income of AT&T. Gross profit is mostly a useless measure.

Re:Is anyone surprised by this? (4, Insightful)

berashith (222128) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082065)

It is truly amazing how much more money can be made when you try to cater to what your customers want instead of screw the customer over and make them regret every penny they give you.

Re:Is anyone surprised by this? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082509)

Did you just compare the annual data to the quarterly or something?

Apple's latest quarter: $35,023,000,000
ATT latest quarter: $31,575,000,000

Re:Is anyone surprised by this? (3, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081609)

Their margins are ridiculous, they could spend 2x more on infrastructure than they do and still be profitable. They need to quit blaming their own success for their horrible service, man up, and make a real investment in their network. Stupid thing is, they'd probably see their profits go up in the long term, but it might be a couple years out, maybe even *gasp* four or five before it hits break even! Inconceivable from a business prospective!

Re:Is anyone surprised by this? (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081681)

Despite that, AT&T still behaves like the monopoly it once was, despite being Southwestern Bell with Ameritech for lipstick and PacBell for mascara.

There is no warmth in a monopoly. Not much of a pulse, either, because: there is no heart.

Steve Jobs gave them success on a platter.... but they still don't get it.

Does not compute (5, Insightful)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081893)

Their thinking simply doesn't make any sense.

- Androids are outselling iPhones (globally, maybe not AT&T specifically)
- iPhones currently don't have real 4G, which is over 3x faster than 3G [pcworld.com] on AT&T's network
- Android users now consume more data [nielsen.com] , faster, and put more strain on the wireless network at any given time, compared to iPhone users
- Skype is available on all major platforms and works over even 3G; quality is surely better on 4G/LTE.

And yet, they're blocking Facetime "out of an overriding concern for the impact this expansion may have on our network and the overall customer experience"??

Logic fail, AT&T. Just admit you're being greedy bastards and think iPhone users are more easily ripped off, that way you'll just be extortionists without also being liars.

Re:Does not compute (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082015)

Considering iTards routinely bend over to be butt fucked of course AT&T knows they can be easily ripped off. Who, other than iTards, actually pay 2500 to 3500 dollars for a throwaway, consumer laptop?

Re:Does not compute (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082447)

Says the moron that lives in his mom's basement and cant afford an iPhone.

Re:Does not compute (1)

JoeSchmoe999 (782579) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082693)

Says the AC

Re:Does not compute (1)

Scowler (667000) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082427)

Is it really necessary to make this an iOS vs Android pissing match? What point in suggesting one side is more gullible than the other? (It's probably an invalid point anyways.)

I think the whole premise of your post is wrong. The technical / bandwidth (and possibly legal) hurdles involved if Facetime over cellular (or any video-enabled VOIP) takes off in a big way are a lot scarier to telcos than ordinary streaming video from Youtube or Netflix. I don't necessarily approve of this solution from AT&T, just saying I can see some of the reasoning behind it.

Re:Does not compute (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082705)

Is it really necessary to make this an iOS vs Android pissing match? What point in suggesting one side is more gullible than the other? (It's probably an invalid point anyways.)

I think the whole premise of your post is wrong. The technical / bandwidth (and possibly legal) hurdles involved if Facetime over cellular (or any video-enabled VOIP) takes off in a big way are a lot scarier to telcos than ordinary streaming video from Youtube or Netflix. I don't necessarily approve of this solution from AT&T, just saying I can see some of the reasoning behind it.

The excuse AT&T used was that since FaceTime was a "preloaded" app, they were free to muck about with its availability whereas they weren't going to do so for any self-loaded apps (which would potentially violate basic net neutrality guidelines, as well as the 4G spectrum "rules" put in place if they ever made a 4G capable iPhone). Whether or not AT&T thinks that iPhone users are more or less gullible, they do think (otherwise they wouldn't pull this shit, ipso facto) that iPhone users are more likely to pay up than to take their business elsewhere. If such a simple option existed on Android handsets, I would suspect they would go after that too. But given the obvious differences between the platforms (the distinction between users who prefer one vs the other is left to the reader) there is something to be said for AT&T targeting the iPhone in this way.

Re:Does not compute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082483)

They know apple users will bend over and pay whatever is the fee

Re:Does not compute (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082497)

youtube and other video content you can kind of organize the routing by having dedicated circuits to the providers and using CDN's. and that's mostly download traffic.

with facetime AT&T will be looking at much higher upload data rates with the potential of increased cost as they have to pay termination fees to Comcast and other network providers that will increase their costs.

Re:Is anyone surprised by this? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082425)

"They can't upgrade the infrastructure fast enough to keep up with the explosion in devices and bandwidth-hungry applications,"

How is it there at AT&T marketing department? Because in reality they dont want to upgrade anything. The average age of the AT&T cell sites in Detroit are 7 years old. That is 7 years out of date. AT&T refuses to spend money on increasing internet bandwidth to cell sites to give customers anything Near 3G speeds and are rolling out their fake 4G that does not matter because the backbone internet connection is less than what most people have for DSL.

I'd give them a break if they were buying gear and installing it like madmen. They are not. they are running skeleton crews to increase profits and have scaled back on expansion and site upgrades drastically again to increase profits.

At AT&T Profit is the #1 priority, Service quality is #7, and Customer satisfaction is #8.

Re:Is anyone surprised by this? (1)

dougsyo (84601) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082439)

I don't think AT&T would try this if Steve Jobs was still alive. With him gone, and with Android as a healthy alternative (and several carriers have been pushing Android over iPhone for various reasons - lower subsidies, availability of 4G, etc), I think we'll start to see more carrier control of the platform - limits like this, crapware infestation, and the like.

Doug

Re:Is anyone surprised by this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082575)

Except AT&T did do things like this when Steve Jobs was around. AT&T blocked tethering, required FaceTime to be WiFi-only, blocked VoIP all while Steve Jobs was around.

Re:Is anyone surprised by this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082685)

They cannot afford to upgrade anything other than executive salaries.

App (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41081285)

The tl;dr of Quinn's argument is that since the FaceTime app itself will only work on approved plans, the network isn't doing the blocking, it's the app that's doing it.

That is a "defense"? (3, Insightful)

ScooterComputer (10306) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081287)

That "defense" seems to be worse than the Dallas Cowboys Defense of last year (excepting DeMarcus Ware...he's the MAN!). So AT&T -ADMITS- they're blocking capriciously and discriminatively, but then says "We're doing nothing wrong."?

I'm not sure what violating net neutrality looks like then, in these guys' minds. So Comcast can block Hulu, that's just fine, but only allow it for their Triple Play customers, since they're trying to reduce congestion???

BZZZZZZT! Wrong answer, jerk.

Re:That is a "defense"? (5, Interesting)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081421)

What will be interesting is if they try this crap on LTE, where there are contractual obligations to not discriminate based on application usage in the Block-B spectrum they purchased. Verizon has already gone down this road with something more ambiguous (tethering) and lost. This is an actual application that they are discriminating against.

AT&T may not be able to get away with this shit for very long before running afoul of the FCC.

Re:That is a "defense"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082047)

The funny thing about your point is that many of the Mcacfag clan claim that no one but wankers need LTE. [appleinsider.com] Their stance basically guarantees AT&T gets to butt fuck them.

Heh (5, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081297)

> AT&T chief privacy officer Bob Quinn sneered at criticisms

"On retrospect, I probably should have turned off face chat before doing that."

One Big Family (4, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081299)

AT&T wants to dictate how you use the data transfer you paid for by charging even more for specific applications. This plan only works if AT&T colludes with other carriers to do the same. Now we see if the industry wide collusion happens and if the government chooses to do anything about it.

Re:One Big Family (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082003)

**Spoiler Alert**

Not a fucking chance.

Re:One Big Family (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082321)

This is a test. If this succeeds and isn't stomped out by the government, it will spread to other services. Look forward to, "Youtube and Facebook are using a lot of bandwidth. Upgrade to our Premium Doubleplus Unlimited package today to continue using these services, or you can buy individual access for an additional $9.99 a month. Also by Unlimited we mean you may only watch two youtube videos per hour."

them pesky consumerts want to use our products!!1 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41081301)

Quick, lets restrict their use to 'other' networks first so that we can still claim our network is fast. Heavens forfend if the users start using our network. They might find out it sucks...

Yeah, I think that pretty much covers it.

I kinda like his explanation though. If you do not know any better, you might believe it.

Does AT&T's argument hold any water? (4, Interesting)

mkraft (200694) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081303)

I know back in the day Verizon, AT&T and other providers used to get to pick and choose what built-in apps they wanted on their phones, but that's not done anymore since phones aren't really customized for carriers anymore. At least not in the case of the iPhone (other than the CDMA/GSM difference). The same built-in apps are on all iPhones, regardless of the carrier. As such the FaceTime app is being provided by Apple, not AT&T. It shouldn't make any difference whether it's built-in or downloaded. If it did, then Apple could simply add a FaceTime 3G Unlock app to the App Store and then according to AT&T's logic, AT&T would have to allow it.

I suppose since AT&T is subsidizing iPhones, that AT&T can have some say over how things work, but how can they justify applying those same restrictions to people paying full price for the phone or no longer under contract?

Re:Does AT&T's argument hold any water? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081361)

I wonder how the FaceTime block is implemented. It must be an AT&T customization because with other carriers you can do FaceTime over 3G no problem. If it's implemented as part of the locking on AT&T iPhones then my unlocked iPhone should work just fine. If it's part of the OS on all iPhones (FaceTime checks the carrier) then it won't.

Re:Does AT&T's argument hold any water? (5, Informative)

mkraft (200694) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081589)

The block is done the same way the tethering block is implemented. There's a setting in the carrier file which controls whether or not FaceTime is allowed over 3G. The processing of said file is built into the iOS and can be downloaded over the air and time the user connects to the carrier network. AT&T sets the FaceTime flag to no or yes based on user's the chosen plan. Other carriers simply set it to yes.

For example, when I went to China with my iPhone and connected to China Mobile the tethering option suddenly became available (since China Mobile doesn't block tethering). When I got back to the U.S. and connected back to AT&T, the tethering option was disabled again (since I'm on the grandfather unlimited plan).

Processing of the carrier file is built into iOS and it doesn't care if your phone is unlocked or not. Unless AT&T sets the FaceTime flag to true for unlocked iPhones, then you still won't be able to do FaceTime over 3G, unless you switch to a Mobile Share plan (which is a rip off if you ask me).

To bypass this block, your iPhone would have to be jailbroken.

Re:Does AT&T's argument hold any water? (1)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081371)

not true, my brand new Samsung galaxy sIII on T-Mobile has a ton of baked in, T-Mobile specific apps.

Re:Does AT&T's argument hold any water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41081675)

You should root it and install a new mod to remove all those 'baked in apps'.

Re:Does AT&T's argument hold any water? (1, Flamebait)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082091)

You shouldn't have to.

Re:Does AT&T's argument hold any water? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082271)

You don't have too.

You can disable them easily in ICS. Just hit the button labeled disable and they never run again.

Re:Does AT&T's argument hold any water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082393)

You could disable them in pretty much every version but that wasn't the point. It was about uninstalling them.

Re:Does AT&T's argument hold any water? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082507)

No, ICS added the disable functionality.
Before you could just stop them, but they would start again.

Re:Does AT&T's argument hold any water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41081439)

Well, you can't really say that they paid 'full' price for their phones when their entire customer base is subsidizing the iPhone 'consumer'.

Re:Does AT&T's argument hold any water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41081553)

After reading their statement, it appears their argument is that they aren't blocking you from having the app (or downloading other video chat apps), just blocking your USE of it, to them, letting you have access to the app fulfills the rules, which of course is baloney.

Re:Does AT&T's argument hold any water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082493)

Actually, they're saying "you bought the phone from us, so we get to dictate how you use the phone and its default applications. We cannot, and will not, dictate how you use other applications you may get from somewhere else, such as the App Store". Sounds pretty legal to me, since they do the same with every phone (your dumbphone can only use whatever they let it use), but IANAL.

Re:Does AT&T's argument hold any water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41081613)

Wow, I expected a lot more from such a "low" UID. You really think that because there aren't any customized apps on the iPhone you purchased, that NO ONE does it ANYWHERE ANYMORE? Of course they still customize the shit out of phones. WTF are you thinking!?!?

Re:Does AT&T's argument hold any water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41081917)

AT&T's argument is that net neutrality rules only prohibit them from blocking apps which compete with AT&T's own services... and since AT&T doesn't offer its own video chat app, FaceTime therefore does not compete with AT&T and can be blocked.

Legally I have no idea if this holds water. Also, if two apps/services offer similar functionality, at what point do improvements to one app constitute a different, non-competing service? You might argue, for example, that video chat is the same service as voice communication but with the added feature of being able to see the other person.

AT&T. Never had 'em, never will (2, Informative)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081335)

I have great concern over a carrier thinking they can tell a customer what apps they may or may not use. AT&T needs to be challenged or this is a bad road we are heading down.

Preloaded App - does that make a difference? (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081551)

I have great concern over a carrier thinking they can tell a customer what apps they may or may not use.

I actually RTFA and apparently this is a pre-loaded app. I.e. an App that AT&T themselves put on there. This isn't a user downloading the 'facetime' app and subsequently finding out it can't be run - the app's already on the AT&T phone, out of the AT&T box.

I guess it becomes worrying when the OS doesn't allow you to remove the pre-installed version and replace it with a user-downloaded version (without jumping through a bunch of hoops) or if the user-downloaded version still gets recognized by AT&T's code as being facetime and get blocked all the same. But any information on that appears to be missing from the article(s).

Re:Preloaded App - does that make a difference? (2)

mlingojones (919531) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081671)

It's FaceTime on an iPhone, so I seriously doubt AT&T had any say in its inclusion with the phone. Which means that no, you can't remove it at all, although you can download additional videochat apps if you so wish.

Re:Preloaded App - does that make a difference? (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081695)

Actually, it's an app Apple put on the phone, and apparently the block applies no matter whether or not you got your phone from AT&T in the first place...

Re:AT&T. Never had 'em, never will (2, Insightful)

jemtallon (1125407) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081749)

This whole post smells of controversy where there isn't one. AT&T was worried their network couldn't handle the load if the future suddenly arrived and everyone was video calling each other. So years ago they blocked 2-way video apps over their network (but not over wifi cause who cares). They've since realized this isn't the Jetsons so they're going to slowly allow that traffic through to see if it bites them in the ass. Assuming the novelty wears off pretty quickly for most users and their network doesn't take a dump in the mean time, they'll likely open it up entirely. It's not menacing and he isn't "sneering" - it's an issue of conservation. They have a limited number of resources that they've planned for and sudden disruptions to that plan can ruin their business. He's just a businessman - apply Hanlon's razor if you must but don't put your negative shit on him. AT&T isn't violating your rights, they don't care what software you use, and we aren't heading down any "bad road." Well, at least not from this. Go fear-monger elsewhere.

--
-1 karma, +1 righteousness

Re:AT&T. Never had 'em, never will (5, Insightful)

Analog Penguin (550933) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082553)

The controversy is that this is the latest in a long line of examples of AT&T bitching about people overburdening their poor network with their evil data-hogging ways instead of spending a goddamn dime to upgrade it from its current twine-and-tin-can infrastructure into something that can handle the needs of a 21st-century world superpower.

Re:AT&T. Never had 'em, never will (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41081787)

Quite right! Telling users what they can and can't run on a platform is Apple's job!

Competition. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081339)

When there's competition, someone will arise to fill that niche. When there's no competition or competition is unfairly hobbled by regulation or subsidization of one set of competitors over another, you only get a very minor deviation of competition among a collective "monopoly".

AT&T vs. Microsoft (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081387)

Which are you voting for this November?

Re:AT&T vs. Microsoft (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081569)

If you're voting for either Democrats or Republicans this November, both are guaranteed to win:
AT&T's bribes [opensecrets.org] .
Microsoft's bribes [opensecrets.org] .
Now, Microsoft is about 2/3 supporting Democrats and hedging 1/3 for Republicans, and AT&T is the other way around, but neither of them can really lose.

If you don't want to vote for them, you'll have to vote for a third-party candidate like Jill Stein (Green) or Gary Johnson (Libertarian).

Re:AT&T vs. Microsoft (0)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081625)

A Libertarian will support the corporations WITHOUT bribes. At least the other parties require bribes.

Re:AT&T vs. Microsoft (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081689)

Yeah, and they will ALSO remove regulation around the wireless carriers, so you will see a bribe as part of your monthly bill. Otherwise those dirty texts to your mistress might just sent to you wife. And that sure is a nice photo you took there. Be a shame for something to "happen" to it.

Re:AT&T vs. Microsoft (0)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081941)

A "classic" Libertarian maybe.

Today's Libertarians are corporate anarchists. I can't believe people don't see the difference.

I didn't think US mobile phone plans... (1)

acidfast7 (551610) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081453)

could get any worse and here you go and surprise me again. I really do feel sorry for you guys as you had the best deals on the planet (by far) pre-iPhone and now there some of the worst.

What about an unlocked phone from Apple? (1)

Above (100351) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081473)

Let's run with their argument for a moment, I think it's bogus, but let's assume there is a difference between an App AT&T sells you on the phone, and an App you download/sideload, whatever.

What if I go buy an unlocked phone from the Apple store and ask AT&T to put it on a plan. AT&T hasn't now sold me the application, so preventing Facetime would be preventing me from using the app I acquired and would seem to run afoul of the rules using their logic. However, I'm fairly sure they don't treat unlocked phones any differently.

Their argument is full of holes, and I hope people keep pounding them on it.

Advertised Feature (1)

wile_e8 (958263) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081507)

We gained a bunch of customers by advertising a data-hogging feature of our phones, but then the customers had the audacity to want to use that feature! How dare they!

FCC rules are too weak (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081513)

If his first paragraph is correct, then the Network Neutrality rules for wireless broadband are so weak that they don't actually enforce any kind of neutrality.

Providers of mobile broadband Internet access service are subject to two net neutrality requirements: (1) a transparency requirement ... and (2) ... prohibited ... from blocking applications that compete with the provider’s voice or video telephony services.

That first rule sounds like "You can dictate to users what they can run on their phones, you just have to tell them first." That is only slightly better than no rule at all. We have a long way to go in this fight.

Re:FCC rules are too weak (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081785)

If his first paragraph is correct, then the Network Neutrality rules for wireless broadband are so weak that they don't actually enforce any kind of neutrality.

The rules in the Open Internet Report & Order regarding mobile broadband providers (which isn't the same things as wireless, since while all mobile broadband is, perforce, wireless, not all wireless broadband is mobile) are not really intended to enforce much neutrality. They are more about consumer information so that consumers know what they are getting and can make decisions accordingly, though there is a prohibition on blocking certain services that compete with the vendor's own services.

They are much weaker than the rules for fixed broadband providers, based on the premise that mobile broadband is a less mature, more rapidly evolving market and needs more time for free experimentation before it is clear what, beyond the most basic, regulatory requirements would be appropriate.

So it begins...... (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081595)

I can only hope that some of the more clueless net neutrality opponents will be singing a different tune once it starts affecting them personally.

Re:So it begins...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41081701)

You can't change the laws of physics! The only way to ensure that everyone in the country can video conference all day requires so much spectrum that you'd need a microcell for every 100 feet. If you want to pay $1000/month for service, it might break even. There is only so much spectrum.

Re:So it begins...... (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082163)

I'm not sure who you are arguing with because we seem to be talking about two different things. If you look REALLY closely at my post you will see that I never claimed there was no spectrum shortage. AT&T's problem is that they bit off more than they could chew with the iPhone by offering a service they were not capable of providing, making what they are doing now practically a bait-and-switch. That is why I don't have a problem with data caps or connection throttling on wireless networks as long as EVERYTHING is capped. If they can only provide a limited amount of bandwidth then it should still be the user's right to use that limited bandwidth for whatever they damn well please. If using facetime gobbles up their cap in a day, or if their connection it too slow to handle it, then so be it. The fundamental problem doesn't lie in the here and now, but in the way that the telcos are subtlety and slowly trying to change norms one step at a time so that once we finally do have better networks, they will have total control over what we can and can't do on them.

So I should be able to use a service for free (1)

boligmic (188232) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082093)

just because I want to and the service provider should then tell other people that the decrease in service because of??

Pay for things you want to use. Pretty straight forward.

rules? laws? what? (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081617)

...violates the Federal Communications Commission's network neutrality rules for wireless networks

Since when has a net neutrality law ever passed? I'm pretty sure it would have been on slashdot if it did, lol. No wonder they said "rule" since I can't imagine what law they'd be referring to. I'm not even sure what rule they're referring to. AT&T is just being assholes.

Like it or not, the solution is pay-for-service (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081629)

The "network neutral" solution is to bill based on content-neutral things like:

* "technical" service levels, where you pay more for for fatter pipes, lower-latency pipes, and whether your usage is more or less tolerant to congestion-management.
* non-technical service levels, such as 24/7 telephone support, detailed billing, etc.
* coverage area / strength of signal / etc. - carriers with bigger and faster networks or which offer free use of others' networks to provide wide and robust coverage will be able to command a higher price than those without.
* "perks" like free Wi-Fi at participating businesses, availability of roaming and whether it is free or not, etc.
* Either a minimum charge or a flat fee for just being a customer. This covers the cost of billing (about $1-$2 for a paper bill, almost nothing for an e-bill) and the averaged costs of customer support calls (it's very bad customer service to charge per call for customer support, so this cost has to be covered somehow). Some carriers will "absorb" this cost and spread it out over the prices of all of their products. Others won't.

However, network neutrality is violated when a wireless internet provider also provides wireless phone or VoIP service (most but not all do) and prices its "good enough for voice" wireless IP services to the point that it's impractical to sign up for a data-only plan and make a phone call. Likewise, it is violated if the wireless internet provider also provides video services but prices its "good enough for similar video services over IP" plans to be non-competitive with its own plan.

The same goes for wire-line providers who offer separate voice or video services (practically all consumer DSL and Cable-Internet providers in the USA over voice, video, or both).

Eventually, most cell plans geared for data-intensive users will be "data only" anyway, voice and video will be just one more thing that runs on top of the data path.

Forgot one thing (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081691)

Another factor we can see more and more of is pay-by-the-byte, or gigabyte, as the case may be.

For "reserved pipes," where you are effectively renting guaranteed bandwidth availability for the duration of a transaction, "pay by the byte" turns into "pay by the maximum potential use" which turns into "pay by the second/minute/hour."

Like the other "neutral" ways of billing, this means any provider who provides voice or video and who doesn't charge the same "by the bit" rate for those products as for other data needing the same latency, throughput, and other technical characteristics is violating network neutrality, at least in spirit.

AT&T is missing out here... (4, Insightful)

drcagn (715012) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081699)

Am I reading this right?

AT&T institutes a policy that is so terrible, it has created a perception in the public that it might even be illegal. So instead of coming up with better ways to satisfy your customers, AT&T decides to defend their terrible policies by insisting "yes, this is legal!"? It's like the entire point went right over your heads. Where on Earth is your PR team?

Your customers all know that "data is data" and there's no technical reason to disallow FaceTime on all your old plans (you know those plans all of your long-time LOYAL customers are on). Your customers know that you are simply placing arbitrary restrictions on those data plans to creating a differentiating factor in your shared data plans. We are not stupid.

I switched to AT&T when the first iPhone was released, and I have stayed on board even after Apple has added new carriers, despite the fact that over time AT&T has gotten worse and worse about my unlimited data plan. Apple and the extremely Apple loyal fanbase has helped AT&T in creating the near-duopoly mobile carrier market we have today. Apple hit it big with the iPhone because, like all of their products, they go above and beyond to make elegant products, take care of their customers in any way they can, and foster the greatest experiences possible for their platform. If you provided the same experience as a carrier, you would have the iPhone market completely cornered. But instead you sacrifice all that potential just to squeeze more money out of the people who remain on your network. That's poor planning and, simply put, you're all stupid for it.

Re:AT&T is missing out here... (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081913)

> Where on Earth is your PR team?

Well, they were having a virtual meeting to come up with a plan when all of the sudden their connection was broken...

Re:AT&T is missing out here... (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082011)

I guess you haven't noticed, but the trend for the past three or so years has been to put out at least one statement that can be boiled down to "we're the corporation, you're going to take what is given to you" before even attempting to solve the problem with their customers.

Usually it ends up with some half-assed corporate apology, but like we saw with the screwed up U.S. Olympic coverage this year sometimes they never deviate from that.

Corporate asshattery, self-righteousness, and arrogance is at an all time high, and depending on how things play out in November it might be on an upward trend for the next four years. No matter how the corporate types whine they have never had as much power over our society that they have today.

Re:AT&T is missing out here... (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082495)

"We don't have to care. We're the phone company."

Re:AT&T is missing out here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082623)

Corporate asshattery, self-righteousness, and arrogance is at an all time high, and no matter how things play out in November it will be on an upward trend for the next four years.

FTFY.

Re:AT&T is missing out here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082593)

Same boat here. The iphone, if nothing else, was different because you HAD to have unlimited and it worked, because we used everything without worrying about going over, suddenly $600 phones weren't just a novelty.

The phone company NEVER thinks it's going to make less . . . or have to provide more. Tethering and FaceTime usage are non-existent because they're terrified of what will happen.

They're not selling you 1GB, they're selling you what an average user on a 1GB plan uses and will begrudge you the rest. They're overselling just like dial-up lines used to be.

My wife has never used over 800MB a month, but will give up her unlimited plan when they tear it from her cold dead hands.

So for original adopters that don't use much data or call that much we get $120/month for 2 phones, limited calling and unlimited data . . . and they're trying to entice us to 'upgrade' to a 1GB SHARED plan for $125 for 2 iPhones . . . these people think like spammers do.

Screw 4G screw LTE . . . get a better 3G network working and stop dicking with the plans. Think like a normal person -- honestly, I don't care if they slow down or cap 3% of people that are streaming video, stop screwing over the masses.

Yay Verizon! (1)

Drethon (1445051) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081779)

This is why I stick with Verizon wireless. My company only blocks real bandwidth hogs like IRC... wait...

Dont like it? Dont use them. Its that simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41081999)

All you people bitching and crying like little girls is pathetic.

If you dont like this policy or like at&t then shut up and use someone else. There are plenty of other options.

Youre all on here putting on your literary caps and using a lot of fancy speech, phrases, comparrisons, your armchair legal adivce and so on but you all still look and sound like immature kids trying to lash out and complain just for the sake of complaining instead of acting like mature adults. A mature adult would either say "Well I dont like that so I wont use it", or "Im switching to someone else because I dont like that" or "It doesnt effect me so who cares Ill just go on about my business" but no you cant do that can? WAH WAH WAH thats all I see on here.

Grow up already you babies.

Re:Dont like it? Dont use them. Its that simple. (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082083)

Oh bullshit.

If you really believe in "voting with your feet" then you must be for banning things like long-term contracts that prevent it.

Oh, you're not? So you ARE a corporate sycophant then?

Re:Dont like it? Dont use them. Its that simple. (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082465)

Wow, nice strawman you beat there. Maybe let the GP respond before you put words in their mouth? Also, you can break your long term contract by paying the ETF to refund them your subsidy. In what backwater country do you live in where you can't terminate your cell contract?

I Declare Shennanigans (2)

zifn4b (1040588) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082001)

AT&T's share price has greatly improved over the past year and is almost back to where it was 5 years ago. I can only assume this means a great increase in revenue. Why can't they afford to increase infrastructure to provide better service? Where is all the money going?

Its the Old "Our Network Sucks" defense again? (2)

Quantus347 (1220456) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082019)

So you are saying your customers will have to pay more because your network sucks and cant handle the real world usage? Ya, thats a great thing to advertise....

All 4 users are outraged (1)

fa2k (881632) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082475)

"AT&T is wasting no time hitting back at critics of its decision to limit the use of popular video chat app FaceTime

..and no real people were affected

Same situation as in the Netherlands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082659)

The exact same thing happened here in the Netherlands last year. Local telecom provider KPN claimed people had to pay extra if they wanted to use Whatsapp, a popular SMS replacement app.

If blew up in their face: it became a scandall, which led to us now having net neutrality.

It's like the parable of the boiling frog: if you put a frog in water and then slowly bring that water to a boil, it won't jump out. But turn the heat up suddenly, and it will. Over here we jumped out. It'll be interesting to see what happened in the US now.

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