AT&T Bans Video Streaming, Tethering, Fun From Its Mobile Data Network

from the no-soup-for-you dept

AT&T has modified the terms of service for its mobile data network, banning "downloading movies using P2P file sharing services, customer initiated redirection of television or other video or audio signals via any technology from a fixed location to a mobile device, web broadcasting, and... any applications that tether the device... to Personal Computers or other equipment." So in addition to banning illegal movie downloads, AT&T's banned things like SlingPlayer that consumers can use to legally view content, services like Qik that let them show live video on the web from their phones. Why would it do such a thing? Well, either it's looking to protect its commercial interests by banning services for which it hopes to charge its customers, or its network isn't up to snuff and can't support all the things its customers would like to do with it. This sort of stuff, sadly, is par for the course for the mobile industry, home of the "unlimited" plan that's actually got lots of limits. In the end, the only ones who end up getting hurt by these things are the operators themselves. By seeking to limit what their customers can do with their phones, they're limiting how valuable they are to their users -- which means at some point, they won't be willing to pay as much for them.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Lucretious, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 4:31pm

    its simply an opportunity for another mobile operator to step in and fill the void after which AT&T will be scrambling to play catch-up when they lose customers to more forward thinking providers.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 4:47pm

    Too Late

    AT&T's system has had issues for a while. I suspect the lack of capacity is the biggest driver. Surprise, surprise, as long as AT&T has had issues, how many companies are jumping in to fill the so-called void? In some markets, maybe, in the Midwest, none that I can see; most of the options are nearly as bad.

     

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      Looker, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 6:42pm

      Re: Too Late

      Remember the FCC auction a while back? Keep your eye out for the major buyers in that to start getting networks online.

       

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    Mobile users are dumb!, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 4:48pm

    This is good. A cell phone should be just that. A phone. I am tired of people thinking people should be able to watch movies on their phone.

    Use a TV for that.

    I hope the Cell providers ban all the other shit other than making calls on their networks!

    Put down the ball and chain and get outside and move people!

     

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      Sulamon, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 4:25pm

      Re:

      Dear Troll:

      It's no business of yours what I do with my cell phone. Now go back into your mother's basement and lock the door behind you.

       

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    Name, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 4:53pm

    AT&T really knows what they are doing

    Well, this will certainly result in a major increase in their subscriber base. How could anyone resist the great deals being offered, and the competition is wholely lacking - oh wait, there is no competition ...

     

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    Paul, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 4:58pm

     

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    Brad, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 4:59pm

    Already Retracted

    AT&T has already retracted the statement, claiming it was published "in error"

    http://www.engadget.com/2009/04/03/atandt-retracts-new-terms-of-service-apologizes/

    Int eresting how quickly that happened. Wonder if it had anything to do with an announced anti-competitive investigation by the FCC?

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/162593/fcc_asked_to_investigate_skype_for_iphone_restriction. html

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 5:17pm

    Gets back to that whole question of bandwidth, infrastructure, and userbase.

    It gets back to a small number of user kicking crap out of what isn't the strongest or most built up network at this point.

     

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      Rose M. Welch, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 10:06pm

      Re:

      If it's just a 'small number of users', then why didn't they fire that 'small number', as opposed to announcing new terms that would piss off a large number of users?

      Rofl, troll.

       

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    LDøBë, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 5:28pm

    Sales Pitch

    I work for a well known electronics retailer (red white and black "hint hint"), and I attended a training seminar on Sunday where the ATT reps constantly explained the value of the wireless data plans. whenever I asked about the availability of a given online service, they would say of course it'll work, but you could do better with our crippled CV or MediaNET version. They didn't whisper a word about IP range banning or UDP blocking. They just want to make way for their mobile TV offering slated to cost $15 a month, and run on the 700 Mhz band. It's pretty limited, but they just want to pressure Joe average user into only having one choice to view TV.

     

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    LDøBë, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 5:30pm

    btw

    Bandwidth is NOT the problem. The towers can easily serve everyone 700kbps to their phones without a problem. If the towers have bandwidth to run data, and make a call at the same time on a handset, then there absolutely shouldn't be bandwidth problems with tethering.

     

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      drysnake, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 6:08pm

      Re: btw

      You have no idea what you are talking about.

       

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      Ken OSS Network dude, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 6:39pm

      Re: btw

      I'd have a hard time trusting anyone that says they can offer 700kbps sustained bandwidth. Maybe burst. But to use that as a selling point-- that everyone serviced by a single tower can be allocated 700kbps-- is an oversight best, and class-actionable at worst.

       

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      Weird Harold, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 6:41pm

      Re: btw

      ...and this is why during SXSW the local company had to rush in and add bandwidth and service to meet the demand.

      Okay. Got it.

       

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    Felix Pleșoianu, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 11:14pm

    Oh come on. This is the result of not enough competition. You have like, what, 3 major telcos in the entirety of the United States? We've got 4 in Romania alone, and the big cable providers also have telephony services, both land-based and mobile.

    And then there is this little thing known as "seeing where the money is". My telco is practically begging people to get streaming TV shows on their phones, and to the best of my knowledge so does the competition. Simple rule here: you want your customers to pay up? Give them something to buy!

     

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    Freedom, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 12:06pm

    Short Sighted at Best!

    >> By seeking to limit what their customers can do with their phones, they're limiting how valuable they are to their users -- which means at some point, they won't be willing to pay as much for them.

    Amen!

    AT&T should focus more on how to expand bandwidth and provide a better and more capable "data freeway" than trying to restrict what can and can't "drive on it". Their success is ultimately going to be determined by providing MORE than their competitors, not less.

    While I understand there are technical issues with high bandwidth use for mobile users/operators, if they can solve this in meaningful way, they can effectively "own" the market for years to come.

    Freedom

     

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    weneedhelp, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 12:56pm

    Error?

    "The language added on March 30 to AT&T's wireless data service Terms and Conditions was done in error. It was brought to our attention and we have since removed it. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused"


    ERROR! Bull*hit!!!!! Big corps spend millions on lawyers to go over document changes like this one.
    F AT&T. Why do I/we want to pay someone to divert all,yes ALL, internet/phone traffic to the NSA?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qy3eOCkLVaw

     

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    video streaming, Aug 19th, 2009 @ 3:56am

    at&t shuts down broadban tv services

    I believe the old saying “Survival of fittest” still holds good. Those organizations who are not in position to sense the market end up this way.

     

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