Google’s New Hangouts App Has an AT&T Caveat

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Isn’t this a kick in the ass!

Tech

When Google announced its new Hangouts app on Wednesday, it didn’t mention an exception for AT&T customers: the app’s free video calling won’t work on AT&T’s network.

To use Hangout video chat on an AT&T Android phone, you must be connected to Wi-Fi.

Apparently, AT&T is falling back on the same excuse it used to restrict the use of Facetime video chat on the iPhone last year. AT&T believes that if a video chat app is pre-installed on a phone, the carrier can block it without running afoul of net neutrality rules. (The FCC says wireless carriers aren’t allowed to block apps that compete with the carriers’ own voice offerings.)

For that reason, Hangout video chat is not barred from AT&T’s network on the iPhone. On Android, Google+ video chat works fine, because the Google+ app is not pre-installed. On my HTC One, I was also able to receive a…

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