9to5mac.com recently reported that AT&T is laying down the tracks to charge for FaceTime video conferencing on it's 3G network. AT&T currently charges an additional $20 for wifi tethering, but also includes an additional 2GB of data with the package. It seems the telecommunications giant is set on bringing forth the same type of program for FaceTime capabilities over their network.
A question few seem to be raising, is why on earth is AT&T charging for Apple features? Tango is a decent video calling application that is not blocked or hindered by AT&T, but FaceTime will be? AT&T will cry that it is about Bandwidth, and that Tango has very little traffic, but the built-in FaceTime will see massive use.
The solution is quite simple. AT&T currently sells data. So why not allow people to use the phone's features however the customer wants, and if they use more data, simply charge for that data? Millions of users eat only a few hundred megabytes a month, but they are into 2GB data plans. So why will AT&T charge them for FaceTime (and likely give them more data with it) when they are not even using the data they have today?
The solution is simple, but unfortunately the answer is all telco. Charge. Charge. Charge. If AT&T, Verizon, or anyone can find an excuse to charge more in monthly fees they'll do it. FaceTime will be the new battle cry from the carriers, and thus AT&T will charge for it, and other carriers are likely to then follow suit.
The truth is, no one but AT&T has a clue how much bandwidth they do, or do not, have. How the people in charge of these decisions at carriers can live with themselves is beyond me (evidently quite well). Perhaps there should be three certainties in life: Death, taxes and cellular fleecing.
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