The fine folks over at FreePress are asking the public to take action in an attempt to convince AT&T to reconsiders its position on blocking iOS 6 feature FaceTime over Cellular for all customers unless they switch to a Mobile Share plan. It's an obvious money-grab, a way to encourage its unlimited data users to leave those plans behind, and it shows preferential treatment on how users can use their own data plans. We're signing, and we encourage you to do the same. According to Public Knowledge:
“By blocking FaceTime for many of its customers, AT&T is violating the FCC’s Open Internet rules. These rules state that mobile providers shall not ‘block applications that compete with the provider’s voice or video telephony services.’ Although carriers are permitted to engage in ‘reasonable network management,’ there is no technical reason why one data plan should be able to access FaceTime, and another not. ‘Over-the-top’ communications services like FaceTime are a threat to carriers’ revenue, but they should respond by competing with these services and not by engaging in discriminatory behavior.”
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The other day we talked about how AT&T charging for FaceTime over Cellular is consumer robbery, and today we've gotten word from Sprint that it agrees, and therefore will not be charging customers extra to use the new iOS 6 feature. When iOS 6 goes public this fall, owners of the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, the next-generation iPhone, iPad 2, and the new iPad will all have access to FaceTime when on 3G and LTE connections. According to Sprint, it's "committed to our unlimited data, and that means not charging for data consumption based on the application." Good on them for that. Now we're just waiting on Verizon to make the same move.
With the release of iOS 6 beta 3 yesterday, a disturbing "feature" was uncovered. Some users on with AT&T iPhones are reporting that, when they attempt to enable FaceTime over Cellular, a prompt pops up that tells the user to contact AT&T in order to enable the feature. Many are assuming that this means that AT&T will be looking to charge a premium for customers to use FaceTime over its data connection, and if that is the case, it is straight up consumer robbery.