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Groups plan FCC complaint over AT&T FaceTime support

updated 01:52 pm EDT, Tue September 18, 2012

Restrictions may break FCC 'Open Internet' policies

Three organizations have announced their intent to file a complaint with the FCC over AT&T's FaceTime policies, which restrict cellular FaceTime to Mobile Share plans, reports say. Free Press, Public Knowledge, and the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute are all participating, arguing that AT&T's "decision to block FaceTime unless a customer pays for voice and text minutes she doesn't need is a clear violation of the FCC's Open Internet rules." The groups add that while the policies hurt all of AT&T's customers, the deaf and people with foreign relatives are dealt an extra blow.

AT&T will, once iOS 6 is released tomorrow, be the only national carrier in the US to restrict cellular FaceTime to more expensive phone plans. The company has tried to defend the policy as within the bounds of net neutrality, claiming that neutrality rules only apply to downloaded apps, not preloaded ones. People have continued to criticize however, and the complaint to the FCC could potentially force AT&T's hand.

Beyond likely wanting to push iPhone owners to more expensive plans, the company may be worried about the network traffic FaceTime would generate as an omnipresent call option. At the same time it does allow other video calling apps, such as Skype.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. ebeyer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-09-04

    Here's what I'm having trouble understanding -- AT&T presently allows skype over cellular. Why draw arbitrary little lines around Facetime.

    Another thing - I resent paying money for a certain number of gigabytes of transfer per month and then being told which apps I can use over
    that network. Doubly so when competing networks do not have the same policy.

  1. jamesfabin

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-17-07

    I showed my support - Friday my 2 new iPhone 5 (64 GB each) arrive for Verizon 4G LTE. Over the last 6 months AT&T has been extremely poor in resolving basic issue to both me and my family back in Ohio. I mentioned to the reps that support was not good and that it was making me think of switching carriers. I'm sure many people say that and don't follow through with it, but I'm going to pay the ETF for 2 iPhone 4S phones and make the switch to a faster network with more of the features I actually want to use. I also have deals setup to sell my old equipment for far more then the ETF fees, so I'll actually come out ahead with a lower monthly bill.

    AT&T needs to take a hard look at customer service - delight the customer and they remain loyal (look at Apple & Zappos). Abuse your customers, treat them poorly, and tick them off and you'll end up with less of them. It may cost us a little bit, but as consumers we need to stand up and speak with our wallets. Would love to see NBC do a news story about this - I'd be happy to share my experiences....and it would be the only time I'd be happy to hear "Hi, I'm Steve Hansen".


  1. DiabloConQueso

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-11-08

    I'm with ebeyer on this one -- if AT&T would allow Facetime to operate on any of their capped, limited data plans, then customers would probably/hopefully use more data... and therefore, be at higher risk of going over their monthly data allotment... and therefore, owe AT&T ridiculous overage charges.

    It's almost like AT&T is turning money down.

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