AT&T does again what they do best: block video chatting apps. Like with FaceTime before it, AT&T had recently given its position on the new Google Hangouts: Video calling will not be supported on mobile data at this time. Obviously, people did not take kindly to this. If we’re paying for data, and we can use other apps like Skype to video chat, why not the new Google Hangouts? AT&T’s response was interesting, to put it lightly. But they did assure us that sometime in the second half of this year, before it’s over, they will allow all users to video chat over mobile data.
For video chat apps that come pre-loaded on devices, we currently give all OS and device makers the ability for those apps to work over cellular for our customers who are on Mobile Share or Tiered plans. Apple, Samsung and BlackBerry have chosen to enable this for their pre-loaded video chat apps. And by mid-June, we’ll have enabled those apps over cellular for our unlimited plan customers who have LTE devices from those three manufacturers.
Throughout the second half of this year, we plan to enable pre-loaded video chat apps over cellular for all our customers, regardless of data plan or device; that work is expected to be complete by year end.
Today, all of our customers can use any mobile video chat app that they download from the Internet, such as Skype.
Basically, apps that are pre-loaded have to be approved by AT&T for video chatting over cellular. And since Hangouts replaces Google Talk, which is pre-loaded, Hangouts is considered pre-loaded too. So Google would have to have their app approved by AT&T. A bit ridiculous no? However, by mid-June, those with unlimited plans and LTE devices will be allowed to video chat using Hangouts freely.
Those two restrictions will soon be lifted, because in the second half of the year, all customers will be allowed to video chat with an pre-loaded app over mobile data. Simple as that. What could possibly take so long, when all other carriers have it right off the bat? We have no idea, and we don’t like it. But at least we’re getting what we want eventually. Nothing stands between the people and our data.