Devices running iOS have this nifty little feature called “FaceTime”. You probably know it better as “video calling”. Forget about how Apple tends to put a marketing term on something that’s already popular and then claims that they were the first to roll it out; there’s something more important here. “FaceTime”, and other services like it, are called OTT services. OTT stands for over the top, meaning they’re services that run on top of the infrastructure that a wireless operator has already erected. Pretend you’re AT&T or Verizon. Apple, who makes the wildly popular iPhone, has just launched a service enabling iPhone owners to make calls and send text messages to each other for free. That’s revenue you use to capture by charging people to use your network.
Last month, AT&T said that in order to use Apple’s video calling feature over cellular you need to have a special data plan, one that costs more money. Does your broadband provider charge you a special fee to use Skype? Do they ask you for more money to watch YouTube videos? Of course not, that would violate net neutrality principles. AT&T though, looks like they couldn’t care less.
Verizon on the other hand, according to the Wall Street Journal, isn’t going to require any special data plans or charge you extra to use “FaceTime”. We salute them for being an operator that doesn’t mess with net neutrality laws, however we do wish they charged less for their services. Hey, they have the best network in America, after all. Just yesterday we filed a report that said their data network is almost twice as fast, on average, as AT&T’s!
You may be wondering, why are we covering this Apple brouhaha on Android Authority? Because Google can just as easily be put into a situation where they want to introduce an awesome feature, but the operators decide to put the brakes on innovation by forcing customer to pay more.
We’re not fans of that. It hurts everyone, regardless of which OS they like.