AT&T Releases Statement on Lack of 3G Streaming for Upcoming SlingPlayer Mobile

Earlier today, we reported on the impending release of SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone. To the disappointment of many who had been eagerly awaiting release of the application and contrary to announced plans, it appears that video streaming will be limited to Wi-Fi only.

Engadget is now reporting that AT&T has released a statement regarding the lack of support for 3G and EDGE streaming in SlingPlayer Mobile. Briefly, AT&T will not permit SlingPlayer Mobile to operate on its network due to the potential for overwhelming demands on network capacity.

Slingbox, which would use large amounts of wireless network capacity, could create congestion and potentially prevent other customers from using the network. The application does not run on our 3G wireless network. Applications like this, which redirect a TV signal to a personal computer, are specifically prohibited under our terms of service. We consider smartphones like the iPhone to be personal computers in that they have the same hardware and software attributes as PCs.

That said, we don't restrict users from going to a Web site that lets them view videos. But what our terms and conditions prohibit is the transferring, or slinging, of a TV signal to their personal computer or smartphone.

The Slingbox application for the iPhone runs on WiFi. That's good news for AT&T's iPhone 3G customers, who get free WiFi access at our 20,000 owned and operated hot spots in the U.S., including Starbucks, McDonalds, Barnes & Noble, hotels, and airports. AT&T is the industry leader in WiFi.

As Engadget points out, however, AT&T fails to address the fact that SlingPlayer Mobile is currently available on a number of other smartphone platforms, all of which support streaming over 3G. That difference suggests that AT&T's close relationship with Apple, which maintains tight control of app distribution via the App Store, has given the carrier significant leverage regarding applications that it believes could negatively affect its network performance.

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