AT&T to be hit with FCC complaint over FaceTime decision

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: September 18, 2012

iPad 2 FaceTime

There's been quite a brewhaha going on with AT&T and iOS 6's ability to make FaceTime calls over a cellular connection, with the big blue carrier recently announcing that only customers on its new Mobile Share plans will be able to use the feature. A new chapter is being added to the story today, as Free Press, Public Knowledge and the Open Technology Institute have told AT&T that they plan to file a formal complaint against it. The groups say that AT&T is violating net neutrality rules by requiring a Mobile Share plan in order to use FaceTime over cellular. Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood added that AT&T's decision is "incredibly harmful" to its customers that are deaf as well as "immigrant families and others with relatives overseas."

AT&T responded to complaints about its FaceTime over cellular decision late last month, claiming that it has violated no net neutrality rules because its policies is transparent and because it's not blocking an app that competes with its own services because it believes that that rule only applies to downloadable apps, not preloaded ones. To compare, both Sprint and Verizon have said that their customers will be able to use FaceTime over a cellular connection without changing data plans or incurring extra fees. It remains to be seen whether this FCC complaint will ultimately have any effect on AT&T and its FaceTime over cellular policy, but it seems as though AT&T won't be willing to change its stance unless it absolutely must. 

Via GigaOM, Free Press