Does The iPhone Break AT&T's Terms Of Service?
from the read-the-fine-print dept
Many mobile operators use restrictive terms of service to limit the types of things users can do with their supposedly unlimited data connections. Typically, these ban the use of things like VoIP and streaming video, and in this case, AT&T is no different, saying its customers can’t use streaming services “except for content formatted in accordance with AT&T’s wireless content standards” (and those standards aren’t defined, of course). However, Apple has announced that YouTube videos will be available on the iPhone (as they now are on a wide range of handsets) — but as IP Democracy notes, there’s no mention of AT&T anywhere in the news, so will this service fall foul of its rules? While it would seem unlikely for AT&T to try and crack down on Apple, given how badly it’s hoping the iPhone will help lure new customers, this situation again highlights the restrictive, one-sided terms of service operators force on their customers, and their selective enforcement of them.
Comments on “Does The iPhone Break AT&T's Terms Of Service?”
Go for it
I say if Apple can thumb their nose at constrictive TOS’s, then I say go for it. There’s no way AT&T would be dumb enough to crack down on this. Then again . . .
Re: Go for it
Once you agree to their contract, they get to change anything you like, and if you don’t like it, you have to pay them to break your contract.
I’ve been working off Cingular/ATT’s 8526 (HTC-Hermes) streaming all sorts of content since November 2006 and havent had a single problem. And I am quite sure that plenty of others also using the 8525 (and prior HTC models) have been doing the same through Cingular/ATT without any hitches.
I use the 8525 and the problem with streaming YouTube is flash 9. So I use orb on my home PC to reformat YouTube and even divx movies over the net to my phone.
You said it yourself
AT&T allow streaming services for content “formatted in accordance with AT&T’s wireless content standards (and those standards aren’t defined, of course).” If the standards aren’t defined, then it seems a short step for AT&T to just come out and say “streaming YouTube to your iPhone is within our standards”. Why would they disable any feature of what is shaping up to be a rather robust cash-cow for their company? It seems to me that having undefined standards (in a world where corporations seem to be calling all the shots) is about the best way to go about getting everything you want without mentioning it first.
I doubt that YouTube videos will be streamed over EDGE, it’s just too slow.
If YT only works on WIFI then the AT&T TOS are moot.
Not so fast
Buried in the hype about the iPhone and YouTube is a little technical detail: YouTube is re-encoding all their videos using the H.264 codec, a process that will take several months. H.264 is optimized for low-bandwidth devices; the YouTube applet on the iPhone will play only H.264 videos. Sounds like this is “formatted in accordance with AT&T’s wireless content standards”… no conflict with their TOS.
iPhone users will probably have to take advantage of the wifi to use you tube. Edge is too slow.
I speculate that it will be a wifi only feature.
As a Canadian living in Edmonton, I have a choice of several providers, but this concerns only two: Telus and Bell.
There is a Motorola phone available on both networks called the E815. It has slightly different model numbers depending on who you get it from.
On Telus, which has a ton of money invested in their crappy ringtone services, and charges you to get the pictures off your phone, the Bluetooth allows headsets but that it. It’s otherwise useless.
On Bell, which doesn’t really have much in the way of content they want to try to force you to use, the Bluetooth is wide open. I get files and pictures and contact syncing with Motorola’s software. I also get to load custom ringtones I edited myself. But their data and text messaging services are expensive. Prohibitively so.
If Apple can break the back of the phone provider’s kingdoms, then it doesn’t matter if they sell any more than the 3 million iPhones they supposedly have in stock. Apple will still have done every one a huge favour.
Very surprising that I’ve heard this is both EDGE and Wi-Fi supported. My guess? Apple will happily tell you you can use EDGE as well, knowing that one “taste” and most Tubers will go scrambling for a Wi-Fi signal. It’s interesting, some months ago, there was an article from an AT&T exec, and he was discussing how this deal has worked out.
In doing so, he made reference to there being some “low moments” and then neglected to elucidate on just what those might have been (although, no surprise). Here’s hoping this works out for everyone, and doesn’t just “BLOW UP”. Recently Helio Ocean users were treated to “redirects” instead of their mobile YouTube page. The redirects hit a “paid sign-up” form, and speculation has been that unrestricted, unsurcharged access to such features conflicted with Helio’s agreements. I’m wondering when users will start identifying Apple’s iPhone “seams” and start rending clothes and gnashing teeth.
iPhone is a revolutionary new mobile phone that allows you to make a call by simply pointing your finger at a name or number in your address book, a favorites list, or a call log