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AT&T Iphone The Almighty Buck Apple

AT&T Defends Controversial FaceTime Policy Following Widespread Backlash 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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AT&T Defends Controversial FaceTime Policy Following Widespread Backlash

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  • by Given M. Sur ( 870067 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @10:58AM (#41081259)

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

    • by shadowrat ( 1069614 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @11:16AM (#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]
    • Or just use Google Hangouts or Skype. They both let you talk to people on PCs and work over 3g and are free.
    • 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.
  • by a-zarkon! ( 1030790 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @10:59AM (#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....

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @11:09AM (#41081395)

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

      • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @12:47PM (#41082771)
        You misunderstand the situation. I don't want to take the blame off the cellular industry, it IS their fault... but you have to understand how the infrastructure works.

        I doubt ATT is having a problem in places like downtown chicago. There are A LOT of customers in that area, and A LOT of data infrastructure running everywhere. Data is cheap, and customers are plentiful.

        You get out to rural Montana, and to feed a cell tower it might cost you upwards of a few million dollars to run a single T1 to it. And that tower on average only serves 100 or so customers. Upgrading that tower is not profitable at all. The obvious solution is not having 4G service there. But then your biggest competitor comes along and starts splashing their map of 4G coverage all over the place... and your marketing department goes into a tizzy "WE HAVE TO SELL 4G!!!! WE LOOK LIKE CHUMPS!" then you have the feds coming in, demanding rural broadband... well crap... ok, we have 4G there. It'll only work for 4 customers at a time but it's there...

        Again, it's the industry as a wholes fault. But it's not as cut and dry as "They're just too lazy"
        • by jeko ( 179919 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @01:46PM (#41083631)

          Everything you just said is valid, and parallels the situation with another utility, namely the power grid. All of the arguments against why we can't have rural cell coverage were previously used to explain why we can't have a rural electrical grid.

          The answer turned out to be that government needed to set up power companies, and that utilities needed to be publicly-owned or closely watched and directed (i.e., regulated). Initiatives like the Tennessee Valley Authority [wikipedia.org] meant that my grandparents got to trade in their lanterns and candles for electric lights.

          The simple fact is that there are a few core infrastructure industries that need to be either publicly-held (power, water, sanitation, mail) or kept on a very, very tight leash (Banking, see "Glass-Steagal").

          AT&T is making a very convincing case that communications infrastructure -- which was already developed and built by tax dollars -- needs to be another publicly-held infrastructure. Here's how you know this is true.

          Every time some local municipality gets together and starts putting up their own wreless network, the telecom lobbyists always descend like locusts screaming that "It's not fair to make us compete against government entities!" What they're saying is that private companies in this industry, with their need for profit, can't ever be as efficient as a public effort. All that means is that as technology has progressed, we've simply discovered another industry that operates as a classic "market failure."


          • There's a big difference between cell and power infrastructure. The power, once installed, needs routine maintenance. It's not a question of it not paying for itself, it's a question of it taking 20-40 years to get the return on investment, which private enterprise isn't willing to do because it could invest the same money elsewhere and get a more immediate return. In the case of rural mobile coverage, the equipment often doesn't get a positive ROI before it's obsolete, and then you need to pay again to
        • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

          That's not exactly how it works, and it doesn't cost nearly that much for them to put bandwidth into the tower.

          Locations with 100 or so customers rarely have much more than just network roaming or, basically, EDGE. Sometimes there's no data in the area, just cellular. For instance, ATT has been selling big in my area (150k 'metro' area) but the outlying areas really don't have much more than basic cellular service due to population density.

          Keep in mind, 100 users means an income of $5k/month minimum. That's

        • by hazydave ( 96747 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:14PM (#41084057)

          Well, some of it is specific to AT&T.

          Back when Verizon had already completed their 3G buildout (every cell site), Cingular and AT&T Mobile were merging two different networks into a single thing. That meant replacing essentially half of the 2G TDMA (DAMPS) cells with 3G/HSPA. Then they went back and replaced/upgraded most of the HSPA with HSPA+, and now they're adding LTE. Verizon skipped all that intermediate stuff and just added LTE.

          With that said, they're both showing 40%-ish profits these days. It's hard to have too much sympathy for their sad plight, or when they screw over customers yet again, regardless of the reason.

          As for 4G, in fact, a T1 backhaul isn't sufficient for 100 connections on HSPA, much less LTE. In fact, a single T1/DS1 circuit isn't sufficient for a single HSPA backhaul. New towers are nearly always Ethernet over optical fiber or perhaps high-speed point-to-point microwave (1Gb/s backhaul over 20 miles for under $40K in gear). Only those offering only 2G access ought to still be using a single T1 link (you need 14 T1 links to properly support a 3G/HSPA cell). But I agree... the cost of upgrade some remote-ass tower (like the one near my house in South Jersey, I'm guessing) isn't particularly attractive relative to the number of users likely to hit that tower in any given day. The one loophole in that -- carriers like to have really good service along major roads, and that may provide justification enough.

      • If you read the Congress's Net Neutrality law and the FCC's followup ruling, you will notice that cellular providers are exempt from the NN agreement and therefore can limit the traffic across their radiowaves (because cellular "has limited room for expansion").

        ALSO : You do have options. For example VirginMobile charges me a mere $5 a month for 30 minutes calltime. That's plenty for me, especially since the minutes rollover. I now have about 10 hours racked-up. There are other similar "pay as you go" s

        • by bjwest ( 14070 )

          ALSO : You do have options. For example VirginMobile charges me a mere $5 a month for 30 minutes calltime. That's plenty for me, especially since the minutes rollover. I now have about 10 hours racked-up. There are other similar "pay as you go" services.

          Link? I can't seem to find any info on this. Are you grandfathered in on something for this rate?

        • For example VirginMobile charges me a mere $5 a month for 30 minutes calltime

          I had to read your post a couple of times to be sure, but it sounds like you're actually not being sarcastic and think that's a good deal. You're paying $0.16/minute, and you're on a contract. Is this really a good deal in the USA? You're paying about 35% more than me in the UK per minute, and I'm on a pre-pay plan (i.e. no contract, top up in advance, pay only for what you use).

    • by muon-catalyzed ( 2483394 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @11:10AM (#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.
      • by Desler ( 1608317 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @11:30AM (#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.

        • by berashith ( 222128 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @11:56AM (#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.

          • by Hatta ( 162192 )

            We are talking about Apple here. Apple doesn't cater to their customers. Apple's customers will take what Apple gives them and be thankful.

        • It's true that gross revenue is a pretty meaningless statistic as far as net profitability is concerned however, one thing is for sure. If they are taking in a ton of money and spending it, they are spending it on something and that gives them power. If they crack the whip on their suppliers after spending millions of dollars vs. another company that is spending much less, those suppliers will be a lot more apt to listen and submit. If they squander that kind of power then that's their mistake but gross
          • If they are taking in a ton of money and spending it, they are spending it on something and that gives them power.

            Congressmen don't come cheap you know.

      • 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

        • GP link [yahoo.com]
          2011 Annual revenue for AT&T = $126B

          AAPL [yahoo.com]
          2011 Annual revenue for Apple = $108B

          But you're right, in the last quarter ending June 30 Apple outsold AT&T. In fact, over the last 4 quarters, Apples revenues were $148.8B versus $127.4B for AT&T

    • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @11:23AM (#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!

      • 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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by quacking duck ( 607555 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @11:45AM (#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.

      • by Scowler ( 667000 )
        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&

        • 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 lik

          • If such a simple option existed on Android handsets, I would suspect they would go after that too.

            There is... Google Talk has supported Video Chat for quite some time. But some carriers may have got there already... it's not always enabled for 3G/4G use.

            At present (in an unhacked, iOS 5 iPhone), FaceTime is and always has been limited by Apple to WiFi only. Apple announced for iOS 6 that FaceTime will be enabled for 3G/4G as well.. and that's not just for the iPhone 5, but iPhone 4 and iPad users who upgrad

      • by alen ( 225700 )

        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.

        • 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.

          No doubt. However, termination fees have nothing to do with "impact [on AT&T's] network and the overall customer experience" so they're still lying about that.

          (Note that adjusting bills upward to cover termination fees is not a customer experience issue, otherwise they haven't cared about CE since forever)

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        As far as I can see, none of your examples has much to do with the app in question. Realtime video communication is a torture-test for a network whose capacity is planned and sold with statistical multiplexing in mind. Every commercial network in existence is predicated on the idea that users don't need peak bandwidth all the time, that need comes in bursts and bursts from users seldom overlap. That's what makes network access affordable; guaranteeing everyone peak bandwidth all the time would require dedi

      • by hazydave ( 96747 )

        Well, a couple of things. AT&T doesn't have all that much LTE rolled out; when they say "4G", they mean either LTE or HSPA+ (given that T-Mobile was calling their HSPA+ "4G", AT&T wasn't one to miss out on a good marketing opportunity). So while they do have LTE devices and cells now, the bulk of the congestion is on HSPA. And all of the iOS devices.

        There's some precedent for iOS actually being the problem, too. Verizon pushed hard to get Android folks on their more complete LTE network, but even mo

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      "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

    • by dougsyo ( 84601 )

      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.


      • >>>I don't think AT&T would try this if Steve Jobs was still alive

        What would Jobs do to stop them?
        He's not some kind of superhero or god that can force ATT to carry FaceTime calls.

  • by ScooterComputer ( 10306 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @11:00AM (#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.

    • by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @11:11AM (#41081421) Journal

      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.

  • Heh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @11:01AM (#41081297) Journal

    > 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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @11:01AM (#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.

  • by mkraft ( 200694 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @11:01AM (#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?

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      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.

      • by mkraft ( 200694 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @11:22AM (#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.

        • Couldn't you jailbreak and

          # chattr +i /path/to/facetime_3g_settings_file

          to make the file immutable even by root and then unjailbreak if that's how you want the phone to be?

          I doubt Apple's engineers set the phone to check for that sort of thing.

          Admittedly I'm a Linux guy and not on top of how BSD differs but I'm sure you get the jist.

          • by mkraft ( 200694 )

            Yes, hence the last line in my post:

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

    • by Aryden ( 1872756 )
      not true, my brand new Samsung galaxy sIII on T-Mobile has a ton of baked in, T-Mobile specific apps.
  • by Picass0 ( 147474 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @11:04AM (#41081335) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • 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 versi

      • 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.
      • by makomk ( 752139 )

        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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jemtallon ( 1125407 )
      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 doe
  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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.

    • 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 ar

  • ...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.

  • by drcagn ( 715012 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @11:29AM (#41081699) Homepage

    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.

    • 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 t

    • Where on Earth is your PR team?

      Where they have been for the last few years, doing lines off hookers.

      I craftily have run out my AT&T contract, so that I have the option of switching to Verizon... I've given AT&T many years to improve signal quality where I live but it's still as crappy as it's ever been.

      Time to jump out of the frying pan and into the other frying pan.

      You are totally right that AT&T missed a golden opportunity to be a phone carrier so awesome you'd put up with the AT&T network

  • This is why I stick with Verizon wireless. My company only blocks real bandwidth hogs like IRC... wait...
  • by zifn4b ( 1040588 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @11:52AM (#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?
  • by Quantus347 ( 1220456 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @11:53AM (#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....
    • by Miros ( 734652 )
      No they are saying that customers can pay more for more features / services. In this case, a bandwidth sharing plan that fits the average consumers usage patterns better, and the ability to make FaceTime calls over 3G which they don't have today. So, actually more for more. Maybe not enough more to compel you to go out and change your plan, maybe you value something you already have more highly (like one of those grandfathered unlimited data plans, for example) but for others this can and probably does l
  • The FCC is flexing its muscles lately and a cavalier attitude just might end up costing AT&T money in terms of punitive fines then just allowing facetime over the cellular network without restrictions. AT&T was pretty cavalier about a merger with T-Mobile and see how well it worked out for them.
  • by interval1066 ( 668936 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @12:55PM (#41082899) Homepage Journal

    Bob Quinn sneered at criticisms that restricting FaceTime...

    I think the company as a whole does that a lot. Especially to its customers.

  • by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @01:10PM (#41083081) Homepage Journal

    I read the response to the question of whether AT&T's action violates net neutrality requirements... and any shyster lawyer would be proud of the crazy hair-splitting Quinn uses to justify his position that it does not.

    His argument basically boils down to a claim that it's not a violation of net neutrality for AT&T to block the FaceTime traffic because -- get this -- the app comes pre-installed. He states that if the app were installed from the app store and AT&T were then to block it, that would be a violation of net neutrality. He even points out that there are other video chat apps available on the app store which can be used over AT&T's cellular network (though he refuses to mention Google+ Hangouts directly).

    What makes it all really obnoxious is that he then tries to paint this lawyerly hair-splitting as a reasonable position. It is perhaps possible that he's actually right that AT&T's actions satisfy the letter of the FTC net neutrality regulation. But nobody with a brain can believe that it actually makes sense.

  • By any chance, does anyone know the majority owner of AT&T????? (Didn't think so.)
  • Don't forget, AT&T is still giving their customers more tomorrow than they have today. Today they have FaceTime over WIFi, and a variety of other apps that do the same thing. Going forward, customers will have access to not only that, but the same great app over 3G service if they have purchased one of the new service plans. This gives folks an incentive to change to the new plan if they are on an older single device data plan that could very well have a more conservative cap than they would have wit
  • Remember this ruling [slashdot.org] that prevents Verizon from doing the same thing? Someone at the FCC needs to be patted on the back for forcing Network Neutrality in the original contract for the 4G spectrum. Now, if only we could force the other carriers to do the same thing [slashdot.org].

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn