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.

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Companies: at&t

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Comments on “AT&T Bans Video Streaming, Tethering, Fun From Its Mobile Data Network”

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21 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Mobile users are dumb! says:

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!

Brad says:

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/

Interesting 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

LDøBë says:

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.

Felix Pleșoianu (user link) says:

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!

Freedom says:

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

weneedhelp (user link) says:

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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