AT&T today announced that it would soon let Sling Player ($29 App Store) work on the iPhone (AND iPAD?!?!) over its 3G network. AT&T had originally said that Sling would cause too much traffic to flow over its network, which might cause service disruptions.
“Slingbox, which would use large amounts of wireless network capacity, could create congestion and potentially prevent other customers from using the network. The application does not run on our 3G wireless network. Applications like this, which redirect a TV signal to a personal computer, are specifically prohibited under our [brand new]terms of service. We consider smartphones like the iPhone to be personal computers in that they have the same hardware and software attributes as PCs.
UPDATE: We’ve got the official press release from AT&T and pasted it below. An exerpt:
AT&T been been working collaboratively with Sling Media since December to test its revised SlingPlayer Mobile app, which has been recently optimized to more efficiently use 3G network bandwidth and conserve wireless spectrum. Optimization reduces the risk of the app causing congestion that could disrupt the experience of other wireless customers so, with that improvement, we will support it on our 3G mobile broadband network.
Sling, however, was always allowed to run on Blackberries, WinMob phones and Symbian phones over AT&T’s network – because they weren’t “computers” like the iPhone. Additionally, Apple/AT&T let other streaming video services like MLB.com flow over 3G on the iPhone, so it isn’t clear exactly why Sling was being singled out. AT&T even changed its service agreement in order to justify banning Sling.
So Sling took its case to the FCC and (surprise, surprise) AT&T is now doing what they should have done in the first place