AT&T seems to be loosening up when it comes to mobile apps using their 3G data network to stream video or internet phone calls, and we’re glad to see the flood gates slowly opening. Following on news that VoIP iPhone apps are now allowed to use AT&T’s 3G network to make free internet phone calls, Sling Media has announced that it has gotten the green-light from AT&T to stream video over the 3G network to its newly optimized SlingPlayer Mobile apps. Sling Media says that their new 3G optimized version of SlingPlayer Mobile tip-toes around AT&T’s 3G network gingerly enough that it should stream video without bogging down data network. For iPhone users, this is great news.
With AT&T on board, it’s only a matter of time before the 3G-enabled SlingPlayer Mobile app gets approved by Apple and gets pushed out to the AppStore. As it stands, SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone is a WiFi-only affair. Of course, we’ll also see the updated app hitting other platforms – like BlackBerry, Windows Mobile – in the near future, but they’ve been able to stream over cellular data networks for a while now. It’s still unknown how far into the future we’ll have to wait, but we have our money on seeing the updated SlingPlayer Mobile going live before mid-2010.
According to Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, the key to getting apps like SlingPlayer Mobile working on 3G is collaboration. In a press release, AT&T’s mobility chief said that “Collaboration with developers like Sling Media ensures that all apps are optimized for our 3G network to conserve wireless spectrum and reduce the risk that an app will cause such extreme levels of congestion that they disrupt the experience of other wireless customers [emphasis added].”
The approval of the new 3G-capable version of SlingPlayer Mobile signals a new age for AT&T – where 3G-enabled apps roam wild and free. The wireless carrier has been hit with criticism over the performance of its 3G network lately, so we have to believe that AT&T will be working to ensure that data-heavy apps and the upcoming iPad won’t bog down the network to the point where customers start complaining about their service. With a little luck, we’ll soon see streaming video iPhone apps from Netflix and Hulu become a reality.
Full press release after the break.
AT&T and Sling Media Collaborate on SlingPlayer Mobile app for 3G Mobile Broadband Network
SlingPlayer Mobile app optimized to conserve wireless spectrum
DALLAS, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — AT&T* today announced that its 3G mobile broadband network will support Sling Media, Inc.’s SlingPlayer Mobile™ app.
Sling Media, a wholly owned subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation (Nasdaq: SATS), originally developed its wireless app to make efficient use of 3G network bandwidth – and to conserve the finite wireless spectrum available to the wireless industry. Since mid December 2009, AT&T has been testing the app and has recently notified Sling Media — as well as Apple – that the optimized app can run on its 3G network. The SlingPlayer Mobile app already is available for use today on AT&T’s Wi-Fi network, the nation’s largest with more than 20,000 hotspots.
“Just as we’ve worked with Sling Media in this instance, we look forward to collaborating with other developers so that mobile customers can access a wider, more bandwidth-sensitive, and powerful range of applications in the future,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “Collaboration with developers like Sling Media ensures that all apps are optimized for our 3G network to conserve wireless spectrum and reduce the risk that an app will cause such extreme levels of congestion that they disrupt the experience of other wireless customers. Our focus continues to be on delivering the nation’s most advanced mobile broadband experience and giving our customers the widest possible array of mobile applications.”
“We’re delighted with AT&T’s decision to approve the SlingPlayer Mobile app on their 3G network,” said John Gilmore, senior vice president and general manager at Sling Media. “SlingPlayer Mobile on AT&T’s 3G network gives customers the best experience possible for watching their home TV while on the go.”
AT&T will provide developers with wireless network optimization requirements for video and other applications by the end of the first quarter via its AT&T Developers Program website (http://developer.att.com).
AT&T’s announcement today further demonstrates its commitment to fostering the development of a wide range of mobile applications for smartphones, quick-messaging devices and other mobile devices. In January, AT&T hosted its fourth annual Developers Summit, where it announced a range of initiatives to support app development.
*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.