Senator Al Franken Also Thinks AT&T Shouldn’t Charge For FaceTime In iOS 6 [Video]

Senator Al Franken Also Thinks AT&T Shouldn’t Charge For FaceTime In iOS 6 [Video]

Who doesn’t like AT&T charging for FaceTime over cellular? This guy.

It’s safe to say the general consensus is against AT&T charging for FaceTime over cellular in iOS 6. The carrier is expected to introduce some sort of fee for Apple’s video calling service this fall, and AT&T has been trying its best to keep the issue quiet for as long as it can. While you would still be able to use FaceTime over a WiFi connection, carriers like AT&T obviously doesn’t want a bunch of video calls hogging everyone’s bandwidth.

Minnesota Senator Al Franken has been very vocal in the tech scene for years. He famously emailed Steve Jobs about the iPhone tracking debacle back in 2011, and he has continued to stand up for consumer privacy rights with the carriers and companies like Carrier IQ.

Franken recently spoke out on AT&T potentially charging its subscribers for FaceTime over cellular, noting that it would be flat-out “wrong.”

Nilay Patel of The Verge in an interview with Franken:

Franken notes that there’s a difference between “network management” and additional fees for tiers of carrier service. If a service (like video calling) is causing AT&T’s network to buckle, then AT&T may need to charge its customers to help support the extra weight. Even then, I find that argument to be a little weak. There’s a difference between service costs and additional fees for how that service is used.

The point naturally progresses into a broader issue of how specifically the carriers should be able to charge for data and the like. If AT&T gives you a certain allotment of data each month, why do you have to pay extra to tether with your iPad or MacBook? Bits should be treated as bits.

  • JFrites

    Not quiet anymore. The new iOS6 Beta no longer allows you to do Facetime over cellular without calling AT&T and paying.

  • joewaylo

    I think they should put it as a separate fee. My reason is this. FaceTime costs several megabytes a minute. Say as a high quality gauge, we’ll call it 5 MB/Minute. That’s 400 minutes.

    The average user uses all of their 2000 MBs. Those 400 minutes can go straight to zero by the middle of their billing cycle combined rendering the end user to pay $10 a GB by the 15th day in their billing cycle.

    Detecting FaceTime over Cellular can separate those 2000 MBs and charge it as a Pay Per Use for the month. Otherwise you’re looking at $100 if the average user was to replace their cell phones with FaceTimes.

    Comcast and others do the same thing. They prefer you to watch Comcast On Demand movies rather than paying NetFlix for better quality videos and they charge you the 5GBs it costs to watch Iron Man on NetFlix rather than from PPV.

  • MacHead84

    I think they should put it as a separate fee. My reason is this. FaceTime costs several megabytes a minute. Say as a high quality gauge, we’ll call it 5 MB/Minute. That’s 400 minutes.

    The average user uses all of their 2000 MBs. Those 400 minutes can go straight to zero by the middle of their billing cycle combined rendering the end user to pay $10 a GB by the 15th day in their billing cycle.

    Detecting FaceTime over Cellular can separate those 2000 MBs and charge it as a Pay Per Use for the month. Otherwise you’re looking at $100 if the average user was to replace their cell phones with FaceTimes.

    Comcast and others do the same thing. They prefer you to watch Comcast On Demand movies rather than paying NetFlix for better quality videos and they charge you the 5GBs it costs to watch Iron Man on NetFlix rather than from PPV.

    So all other video chat apps (there are probably 6 I could name without even thinking) are free to use but FaceTime should be pay to play?

  • assyrianpride

    well we all want free stuff but wheres the logic that says people shuld be able to use a service without paying? it wont happen. people will be using facetime for every call they can possibly use it for and peoples bills will be lower, and at&t will make less money. how is that going to work??

  • nthnm

    AT&T is pissy at Apple for costing them revenue and they want to screw Apple back.

  • technochick

    And yet he doesn’t seem to care about the rest of the ways they screw us. Like why don’t I get a discount when my iPhone is fully paid for given that part of the monthly fee is to pay off my subsidy. Why am I paying $10 a month for 1000 texts that probably cost them 10 cents if that much to send

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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