SlingPlayer finally allowed to operate over AT&T's 3G network

It was almost a year ago when AT&T Mobility was defending its policy of not allowing applications that eat up too much bandwidth, but last week, with net neutrality requirements looming, the operator said it will begin to allow Sling Media's SlingPlayer to work over its 3G network on the Apple iPhone.

Previously, the application was only allowed in WiFi mode. In order to gain approval last year, Sling Media was required to disable the 3G capability. SlingPlayer for iPhone enables users to stream live and recorded television content from their home entertainment system to their mobile device.

Back in May of last year, AT&T found itself defending its network policies, saying "Slingbox, which would use large amounts of wireless network capacity, could create congestion and potentially prevent other customers from using the network... Applications like this, which redirect a TV signal to a personal computer (it classifies the iPhone as a computer), are specifically prohibited under our terms of service."

Consumer groups have cried foul ever since over the Sling Media application and other apps that were only allowed to run over WiFi.

But in October, AT&T reversed its decisions with pressure from the FCC to allow VoIP applications to run over the 3G connection rather than WiFi only.

In a release last week, AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega said Sling Media was willing to work with the operator to revise the application and make it more bandwidth sensitive. "They made important changes to more efficiently use 3G network bandwidth and conserve wireless spectrum so that we were able to support the app on our 3G mobile broadband network."

However, Sling Media executives said AT&T never discussed any specific requirements with the company. Sling Media's John Santoro told Ars Technica that no fundamental changes were required but that the company has been continually improving its software to help manage bandwidth consumption. Ars Technica subsequently updated the article after Santoro clarified its relationship with AT&T, indicating Sling Media had an ongoing working relationship with AT&T.

At any rate, AT&T plans to give it developers wireless network optimization requirements for video and other applications by the end of this quarter.

Updated to reflect change in Ars Technica article.

For more:
- read this Ars Technica article
- see this Cnet article

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AT&T's mobile broadband house of cards
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