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T-Mobile jabs Apple's FaceTime over Wi-Fi limit, blames AT&T

updated 10:55 pm EDT, Tue November 2, 2010

T-Mobile TV spot jabs iPhone FaceTime limits

T-Mobile kicked off a new campaign for its HSPA+ 3G network today with a TV commercial (below) poking fun at the limitations on the iPhone's FaceTime video chat. The 30-second spot blames AT&T for Apple not allowing FaceTime over cellular until 2011 and portrays the rival carrier as an overweight man keeping the iPhone down. T-Mobile's faster 21Mbps HSPA+ "4G" network and reduced congestion let phones like the just-shipping myTouch 4G join two-way video chats without being tied to an airport or another public Wi-Fi hotspot, the carrier's's beautiful female stand-in suggests.

The ad goes so far as to borrow Apple's since discontinued "Get A Mac" theme of two personifications talking to each other against a pure white backdrop.

The Android 2.2-based myTouch is limited to 14.4Mbps and has less elegant video chat options that require traditional apps, such as Fring or Qik, but T-Mobile also hasn't encountered the widespread 3G congestion problems of AT&T in hotspots like New York City or San Francisco. Apple's decision against cellular FaceTime has also likely stemmed from its need to negotiate with many carriers that might be concerned about heavy traffic on their networks.

In creating the ad, T-Mobile is careful not to attack the iPhone itself, suggesting that T-Mobile might not want to directly antagonize Apple in the event that it gets an iPhone deal of its own. AT&T's exclusivity is commonly expected to end in 2011 and would raise the possibility of a T-Mobile US iPhone if Apple is willing to develop a version with the carrier's native, primary 1,700MHz 3G band.

by MacNN Staff



  1. sixcolors

    Joined: Dec 1969


    the real BS

    I know Rogers can handle it because I use iChat over tethering and it works great.

    Why does AT&T have to drag everyone with them?

  1. Salty

    Joined: Dec 1969


    An ad to Jobs?

    Who doesn't think that if anything this is an ad to Jobs?

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    She's cute.

    your comment

  1. Eriamjh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    AT&T guy

    Looks like Ballmer only with more hair.

  1. LunarMoon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not just in the USA

    As I live in europe I see the problem is not just in the USA. Even sprint would crash if all iPhone users started using video on their network. The proof of that is that Apple disabled Facetime over 3G in all countries. So, all networks of the world are bad (?). Yes, any network in the world could not handle the traffic.

    And I have a theory that Apple will use its new datacenter to deliver a skype-like service using Facetime and will use a custom SIM chip (Apple is right now in negotiations with the company that builds these cards) to provide a local number for their devices. International calls will be free between "Apple numbers" and calls to non-apple numbers will have low prices, as skype.

  1. SwissMac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    AT&T have been a drag since iPhone launch

    In Europe the mobile phone networks were way ahead of what AT&T brought to market when the iPhone launched, so the iPhone was crippled worldwide just so it didn't show up the lumberous Ox that AT&T was. We had to wait years for tethering for instance, had 3G years and years ago, and (at least here in Switzerland) have had HSPDA since at least 2007/8. Masts are also more densely located here, meaning the network capacity is higher too. It seems like T-Mobile has a point...

  1. tcphoto

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I guess Kathrine Zeta Jone was too expensive...

    I'm guessing that the commercial was written by a Defense Attorney. They push the limits of slander and insert enough humor so we might miss the misinformation. Yes, the iphone in the US is hurt by AT&T's network. Yes, the Casting Director did a good job of casting the semi Ballmer looking guy as AT&T. Yes, most people will be distracted by the attractive girl that we assume is being truthful. More important, is T-Mobile in the running for the iphone should/when AT&T's deal expires?

  1. msquared70

    Joined: Dec 1969


    tmobile ploy to "Switchers"

    I think this could also be construed as a veiled message from t-mobile for people to jump the ATT ship with their iphones.

    As a T-Mobile customer with a jailbroken iphone T-Mobile has gone out of their way to support me on their network. They're happy to have me as a customer.

    And it is now possible to use facetime over their cell/data network on an iphone 4.

  1. Drunken Economist

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This Commericial is dead on

    Made by a defense lawyer? Please, if AT&T launched a suit against this commercial they'd be first laughed out of the courtroom, and then when things got serious, then they'd have to throw open their books to show where all the $$$ went. Bueller? NOT to infrastructure but straight into execs pockets, dumb MBAs who look like but 'have a bit more hair than Ballmer.'

    The image of an old balding MBA telco on the back of the young iPhone platform is VERY apropo.

    AT&T has been a thoroughly LAME carrier since they got the iPhone. You'll note that only 'grandfathered' accounts have unlimited data? Or that you could only buy an iPad with unlimited for a period of *2 weeks*?

    Want to diss an AT&T employee? Ask them about their WiMax / 4G rollout. Then tell them 'that's what you guys said 5 years ago, and oh, by the way, Clear has it 40 miles down the road.'

    AT&T hasn't even completed their *3G* rollout. They are utterly lame and need to be stomped into the ground.

    Anyone who has jailbroken their iPhone and installed signal strength Apps knows all the above VERY WELL.

    -Drunken Economist

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    They push the limits of slander and insert enough humor so we might miss the misinformation. Yes, the iphone in the US is hurt by AT&T's network.

    I'm shocked! Shocked, I say! Are you saying that a Television commercial pushes the bounds of accuracy? Are you implying that the information being given is not 100% true and complete? That can't be. As an avid ad watcher, especially the days before the election, I can honestly say that nobody creating an ad would ever give out anything but 100% of the truth, within full context and everything.

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