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AT&T will enable video calling apps like Hangouts to work over cellular by the end of the year

News by Andrew Kameka on Monday May 20, 2013.

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AT&T doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to "blocking" video calling apps, and the discovery last week that Hangouts requires a Wi-Fi connection on AT&T's network didn't help matters. The carrier today issued a statement explaining the lack of support, and promised to fix it.

According to a statement issued by AT&T to Techcrunch and other publications, video chat apps that are preloaded onto devices operating on its network must take extra steps to have the app work over cellular networks. Because Google failed to enable cellular compatibility, Hangouts, which replaces the preloaded Google Talk app, requires a Wi-Fi connection. AT&T's full statement said:

"For video chat apps that come pre-loaded on devices, we currently give all OS and device makers the ability for those apps to work over cellular for our customers who are on Mobile Share or Tiered plans. Apple, Samsung and Blackberry have chosen to enable this for their pre-loaded video chat apps. And by mid-June, we'll have enabled those apps over cellular for our unlimited plan customers who have LTE devices from those three manufacturers.

"Throughout the second half of this year, we plan to enable pre-loaded video chat apps over cellular for all our customers, regardless of data plan or device; that work is expected to be complete by yearend.

"Today, all of our customers can use any mobile video chat app that they download from the Internet, such as Skype."

AT&T indirectly blames Google for the lack of Hangouts support but says it will fix the problem in coming weeks. In the meantime, AT&T's customers with Android devices will have to connect to Wi-Fi in order to make calls on Hangouts, which greatly limits the app's purpose and usefulness. Similar issues popped-up when AT&T limited Apple's Facetime over cellular feature to work only on devices tied to a Mobile Share plan, but the carrier eventually relented and enabled cellular support to all iPhone users.

source: Techcrunch

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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