Apple and AT&T explain Sling Player block

Chicago (IL) – The much anticipated SlingPlayer Mobile application developed for the iPhone finally hit the Application Store. Unfortunately, it did so with changes to the pre-release version that many are disappointed to see. One of the most prominent changes was the applications ability to work at any given time. At AT&T’s request, the application will now only operate via the iPhone’s Wi-Fi connection (AT&T has more than 20,000 WiFi hotspots) and not over the AT&T 3G Network.

Macworld reports that AT&T spokesperson Mark Siegel stated that the company’s terms of service do not allow for use of applications which redirect a television signal to mobile computers (which the iPhone is considered.) Additionally, this particular restriction is not limited to the iPhone. The main concern of AT&T is the reliability of its wireless network. “It’s about making sure all our customers have access to the wireless network,” Siegel told Macworld.

The use of the SlingPlayer via its wireless network would cause a tremendous amount of capacity issues and interference, according to AT&T. The potential for high bandwidth consumption is also an issue.

The AT&T cellular network is restricted to iPhone users in other capacities. Downloads of files are limited to under 10 MB when using the AT&T Network, and Voice over IP applications such as Skype can only be utilized via Wi-Fi.

Many have speculated that the true reason for AT&T’s block of the SlingPlayer service as well as others  via its 3G network is actually due to potential competition for the AT&T Mobile TV service (not compatible with the iPhone), which allows unlimited television access to select programming at a fee. This speculation has led some to request that the FCC look in to the restrictions set by the AT&T network.