ATT Responds to My Complaint on Slingbox Limitations

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by prairiefire, May 21, 2009.

  1. prairiefire macrumors member

    Jun 8, 2007
    To ATT's credit, a representative of their "complaint escalation team" responded to an email I sent to ATT's Pres/CEO.

    Basically, here's what she told me:

    They are aware of the customer concerns -- and have received many complaints.

    They acknowledge that other devices sold by ATT sling video to the phones BUT they cannot control what those owners put on those devices as they can with the iPhone.

    Their position is that slinging video is a violation of their terms of service, no matter the device upon which it is being done -- BUT they cannot enforce it against any owners except those with iPhones.

    They acknowledge that there are many who are violating the TOS.

    In addition, they say that the iPhone is a computer, not a phone, within their TOS.

    To them it is not a "bandwidth issue" -- their network is sufficient. I asked why, if there was no bandwidth issue, they cared. "Because it is a violation of the TOS". I asked why the TOS didn't allow slinging and she said "Because."

    I asked why it was OK to use 3G to view other video, off the 'net, like YouTube or network program feeds and she said because it is not slinging video -- a pretty circular answer in my eyes.

    At one point, as I pressed on what was wrong with slinging, she said it was "stealing a cable signal". I told her that I paid for that signal, that the cable company knows I have a Slingbox and has never told me not to use it. ATT's position is that it is stealing, anyway.

    Finally, she said that ATT will not remove this restriction "at this point" but that she cannot say it will not do so in the future. I cannot tell if this is a sop to make me feel better or if they are getting enough pressure to force them to change their policy.

    Here's what I get from the discussion. It you believe ATT, the key is to get a Sling application that is not run through the Apple store. Their position seems to accept those who run Sling on software loaded "beyond ATT's control".

    ATT's control translates into ATT's ability to control the Apple Store.

    This makes Apple the culprit because if Apple were to sell the Sling application as it was originally developed -- including 3G -- it seems ATT would do nothing to punish the iPhone users who used it. People have been blaming ATT, but Apple, by giving in to ATT's demands, is complicit. In fact, it is in Apple's best interest to allow 3G slinging -- the restriction may turn people away from the iPhone toward another choice.

    And, it will turn iPhone users toward solutions, outside of Apple's control, like jailbreaking -- which is not good for anyone.

    Although I am not satisfied with the answer or ATT's position, I do give ATT a lot of credit for calling back and explaining their concerns to me.

  2. Dr. Cabrera macrumors 65816

    Aug 25, 2008
    Los Angeles
    Trust me I am equally pissed off as you

    We pay for the 3G network, we should be able to use it, the same as other cell phone users
  3. Guiyon macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2008
    North Shore, MA
    I'm wondering if this could get AT&T into some serious trouble for false advertising. In the past they have justified the "Unlimited" tag on their data plan as not referring to the data amount but what "types" of data you can download, because we all know bytes of video takes up FAR more bandwidth than bytes from email or web browsing. Since they now seem to be placing limits on both ends, (ie: 5GB and you can't download video, etc) it seems like it's blatant false advertising...
  4. KidStallyn macrumors 6502


    Mar 6, 2008
    Should have asked her why Orb Live was accepted through the App store when it is allowed to "steal"....errrr....."sling" live video over their 3G network.
  5. kas23 macrumors 603


    Oct 28, 2007
    So, basically, you are allowed to have and run Slingbox via 3G if you jailbreak, as they cannot control (or be bothered with) this use. I hate this AT&T/Apple relationship...
  6. hasanahmad macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2009
    call back say if you think it is stealing then she is implying that Apple is illegally selling it on its app store because it was approved by Apple to be sold
  7. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    You're wasting your time arguing with an at&t rep. Just jailbreak already.
  8. prairiefire thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 8, 2007
    Good Point

    So I guess it's not stealing when slung with WiFi, but it is stealing when 3G is used.

    They are trying hard -- but they really have a tough time distinguishing this and the fact that they allow it on all other platforms. The "we can't control it" runs a little hollow.
  9. prairiefire thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 8, 2007
    Consequences of Jail Breaking

    I'm far from an expert on Jail Breaking, but my first impression is that I void the warranty on the phone and that each time Apple releases new system software, as they are about to, it won't work on a broken phone.

    Can someone give me a realistic assessment of the risks one runs when breaking?

  10. RogueVasion macrumors regular


    Nov 23, 2008
    Well, I don't know the policy or if they can figure out if you have jailbroken it...but I do know that you can vanilla it (reset it) to factory settings. Not sure if they can figure out if you jailbroke it in the past.
  11. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Aug 20, 2008
    They can't.

    If you do a DFU restore there is no way that the store techs can determine whether the phone was previously jailbroken.
  12. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    Jailbreak and forget about AT&T's TOS.
    They cant do anything about just like they cant do much with other smart-phones that can sling over 3G/Edge.
  13. thetexan macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2009
    They claim their network is sufficient? I can't believe AT&T is that full of themselves. I can't wait to dump AT&T when the Pre is released, it has been the most awful network I've ever used and I've used all the major ones. Dropped calls galore, lack of a signal inside a lot of large buildings, web browsing at speeds less than dial-up, and an inability to get a 3G signal even though my coverage states I'm right in the middle of 3G coverage.

    iPhone is a good phone, but AT&T is a failure and has ruined my whole iPhone experience except for when I use it as an iPod.
  14. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    At least you folks still have no bandwidth cap unlike us data card users who pay twice as much for 5GB of bandwidth a month.
  15. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Aug 20, 2008
    Err... no. Actually they could. If you read the TOS, there's actually quite a lot they could do about it.

    Will they? Probably not. But saying "they can't do anything about it" is just... wrong.
  16. britboyj macrumors 6502a

    Apr 8, 2009
  17. Carniphage macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2006
    Sheffield, England
    The real reason

    All phone carriers have a plan to sell you premium content via their networks.

    When they dream at night, they get all tumescent over the notion of you watching TV via their 3G networks - and they'd like to charge you $15 per month for the content deliver service.

    If you go creating your own private TV network. That's just stealing their $15!

  18. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    They wont do squat.
    There, you like that better?:D

  19. IgnatiusTheKing macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2007
    das Fort
    I understand why AT&T wants to stop people from using Sling anywhere, but the notion that it is somehow "stealing" the TV signal is ridiculous, especially given the fact that DISH Network has a box with Sling and a DVR built-in.
  20. JPIndustrie macrumors 6502a


    Mar 12, 2008
    Queens, NY

    It won't. If it's in their Terms of Service that they force every customer to sign, then it is perfectly within their legal rights to enfore this.

    The simple answer is, slinging competes with ATT's interest in mobile TV and mobile video. That's it. If you were running ATT, would you want your bandwidth being hogged by something that you can't charge for? That's their story at least. But I for one, agree that if we pay for unlimited, we should get unlimited. Google 'net neutrality' to find out more.

    Either way, if they can't control what the other devices have, then they can't control my jailbroken phone with the wifi/3G hack. :cool:
  21. prairiefire thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 8, 2007
    Apple's Complicity

    I find it interesting that most of the comments are directed at ATT.

    In fact, if Apple were willing to sell the full app, 3G and all, ATT would be forced to treat us the same way it treats Treo's and other phones running Slingbox. And, I think that's all any of us want.

    If ATT chooses to enforce its TOS, that's fine with me so long as it is enforced equally, against everyone.

    I find it interesting that ATT says THEY can control the iPhone because THEY can control the Apple store.

    Shouldn't more pressure be put on Apple?

    Apple holds some strong cards against ATT. iPhone's have brought a lot of customers to ATT. I think a platform agnostic iPhone would lead customers to better carriers.

    I truly wish Apple were more protective of iPhone users and played a bigger role in getting us equal treatment from ATT.
  22. JPIndustrie macrumors 6502a


    Mar 12, 2008
    Queens, NY
    Well, that's just not the case.

    I wouldn't be surprised in the contract negotiations for the App store that AT&T made sure to keep a 'veto clause' in there. Just for situations like these. Apple is not some super company that can do whatever they want (they're close though.) They have to make some concessions in order to keep what they think is more important. Remember the Netshare debacle?

    It's AT&T's wish, therefore it is AT&T's fault.
  23. vipergts2207 macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2009
    Columbus, OH
    The fault lies with both. First, AT&T are just being unfair to their customers. And all Apple has to do is say, "Bye AT&T, we're going with verizon" or at least no longer exclusive. I'm guessing about half of iPhone users would move to verizon if they had the option.
  24. TheBearman macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2008
    Cary, NC
    Has anyone considered filing a complaint with the FCC? I'm sure if enough folks filed a complaint at some point the FCC would need to followup. AT&T might find that they either need enforce their TOS equally across all "Smart Phones" or remove their objection to a 3G version of Sling from the app store.

    And before anyone points this out.. yea, it's nice to dream.
  25. ZbadhabitZ macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2009
    Who else thinks that maybe Apple has something in the works for Apple TV along the SlingBox lines?

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