AT&T Wireless finally relents to FCC pressure – allows third party VoIP apps on iPhone

This is huge news.  This announcement from  AT&T means that third part voice providers will be able to send there VoIP traffic over their mobile wireless device.  This is a giant leap for Net Neutrality(Click on the link to read more)!  Thank you Obama.  When critics say you haven’t accomplished anything as of October 2009 except spend a lot of money, I can say they are crazy.  The FCC’s pressure has been crucial on getting companies like Comcast and AT&T to abandon their crooked packet shaping and filtering schemes.

In the case of Comcast they were reducing the priority of Bit Torrent(popular file sharing protocol) packets at peak hours to avoid congestion on their networks.  However, Comcast marketing in the Seattle area suggest speeds of 11-15 MB/s, with no Data Cap.  I think it is disingenuous to throttle down Bit Torrent while marketing faster download speeds than DSL.  It’s disgusting.  I’m glad the FCC stepped in.

AT&T wireless pulls a similar stunt.  You pay for unlimited Internet access from your mobile device, but they disallow tethering(connecting laptop to phones Internet connection unless you pay extra) and until this week blocked VoIP(Voice over Internet Protocol) over their IP network. This is a quote from a press release today Oct. 7, 2009:

“Before we begin ‘fixing’ what isn’t broken, we need to be thoughtful about the consequences. We believe the marketplace today is vibrant, and there is no need to burden the mobile Internet with onerous new regulations,” said de la Vega. “Imposing new regulations on an intensely-competitive market that has been such a phenomenal success could have unforeseen consequences for jobs, investment, innovation, networks, and how the industry structures and prices services to customers.”

I wouldn’t call filtering your competitors voice traffic, “…intensely-competitive…”.  Obviously they figure they can make more money if they force your voice calls out of their own cellular network.

With a Wireless connection to the Internet you can use any VoIP service available.  If Google voice is allowing free calls any time and AT&T wants to charge you $69.99 for 1000 ‘any time’ minutes which would you choose?  The last thing Comcast, AT&T, and Qwest want is intense competition.  Sorry, no one is buying into that lie.  $69.99 for 1000 ‘any time’ minutes might be a great deal, but only if the last decade had never happened.  Further in the same AT&T Press Release:

The FCC is conducting inquiries into the wireless industry regarding competition and innovation. Additionally, the FCC has announced an upcoming rule making on Net Neutrality that would apply to wired and wireless networks.

AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega is quoted in the same release with this comment,

“As part of our dialog with the FCC, we hope to present some important facts to show how — and why — less regulation is the best path to the future for America’s wireless industry,”

Yeah… that really worked well for the American banking system.  Bypassing Net Neutrality will be one of the primary vehicles used by telco’s to protect their pseudo monopolies.  With packet filtering and traffic shaping they can force customers do purchase services that would otherwise be available in a free market on the Internet.  In past years

The FCC crack down on AT&T Wireless means I will soon be able to connect my Asterisk Phone System at my office to my iPhone.  This has huge implications for future customers at VoiceIP Solutions.  Now we can be at work all the time!  Sounds great doesn’t it?  Well at the very least, more convenient(depending on how much you love your job!!).

Reference Links to the AT&T Press Releases:

AT&T’s iPhone Press Release

AT&T’s Anti-Net Neutrality Press release


  • I thought this was really interesting news as well. Although, I’m certain that the impending Verizon iPhone release is largest motivator for AT&T (Score one for competitive free market solutions!) as Verizon and others are making no such moves. I am also certain that this will actually drive up the cost of base service. As it is, AT&T is having a hard time finding new spectrum to keep up with the dramatic increase in demand for mobile broadband web access (I’m looking at all of you iPhone user who stream music through Pandora instead of just putting on your phone!). I’m basing this on the following price increases:
    Mobile web access when iPhone first came out – $20/mo.
    Now – $35/mo.
    One year from now (guess) – $45/mo.
    Plus you will still have to pay for the minimum minutes package.
    However, I do think it will be very important, in the near future, to make sure that broadband service providers cannot control what we do with our internet connection. Humankind is quickly moving toward a place where the internet is the primary vehicle for all of our news, entertainment, education and communication (I’m already there with my Google reader, Hulu, “.edu”‘s and Vonage). That being said, we do have time to make sure we get “NET Neutrality” right and that it doesn’t include measures that will stifle growth. I for one am tired of Washington bureaucrats using a good idea to give a “piggyback ride” to their own crap. Sorry about the comment/article Matt. I actually just came to your site to see if/how you implemented RSS feed links on your site. Hope I didn’t break you comment box!

    Comment | October 24, 2009
  • mattb


    Thank you for your comment. Hopefully we can get a comment from an oppenent of “Net Neutrality” to get this post rolling!


    Comment | October 26, 2009

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment