AT&T Says They’ll Charge You For FaceTime Because They Can
Talk about corporate evil. We’re all unhappy with the fact that AT&T plans to charge you a couple of extra bucks for FaceTime over 3G once iOS 6 becomes a reality, so we’ve all ranted our lungs and keyboards off in contempt. You’d expect that if AT&T would ever issue a statement regarding this, they’d do so to make their customers and tech media happy, but nope, that’s not the case.
AT&T has been clear about the fact that if you do want FaceTime, you’ll have to use their new, and should I add, more expensive Mobile Share Plans. They also just sent everybody a lengthy response where they’re confirming that they’re entitled to disable FaceTime if they want to, since it’s a built-in service on the iPhone, and dismiss us with some Net Neutrality legal jargon:
“The FCC’s net neutrality rules do not regulate the availability to customers of applications that are preloaded on phones. Indeed, the rules do not require that providers make available any preloaded apps. Rather, they address whether customers are able to download apps that compete with our voice or video telephony services. AT&T does not restrict customers from downloading any such lawful applications, and there are several video chat apps available in the various app stores serving particular operating systems. (I won’t name any of them for fear that I will be accused by these same groups of discriminating in favor of those apps. But just go to your app store on your device and type “video chat.”) Therefore, there is no net neutrality violation.”
So, I guess AT&T customers are now in Apple’s hands. All Apple has to do is behave as the “we love our customers” company that they tout themselves to be, and release a separate app on the App Store that provides FaceTime like you have on the iPad and iPod Touch. Apple is no longer exclusively married to AT&T and given the fact that most of AT&T’s smartphone sales start with an “i”, I’m sure doing this maneuver to serve customers is the right thing to do.
Think about it Apple: Was all the effort of putting FaceTime together any good if I’ll be forced to do the same thing over Skype just because you didn’t act bold enough against corporate tyranny?