AT&T Responds to FCC: We Had No Role in Rejecting Google Voice Application

Google VOice for iPhone

If you have been following the fiasco behind Apple’s rejection of Google Voice related iPhone apps from the iPhone App Store, you might remember that Apple, AT&T and Google were given until August 21st (i.e.  today) by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to respond to their letter as they wanted to find out the reason why the iPhone apps were rejected.

Folks at Engadget have got a copy of AT&T response to the FCC's investigation where they have categorically stated that they "had no role in any decision by Apple to not accept the Google Voice application."

We had felt that the Apple had rejected the iPhone app due to pressure from AT&T, however with AT&T’s statement, the ball is back in Apple’s court.

You can checkout their response to FCC below:

AT&T Statement on Letter to the FCC Regarding Apple App Store

WASHINGTON, DC – On July 31, 2009, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued letters to Apple, AT&T and Google with a series of questions about the Google Voice app and Apple’s App Store approval process. AT&T today responded to the questions raised in the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau letter. The following statement may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T senior executive vice president, external and legislative affairs:

“We appreciate the opportunity to clear up misconceptions related to an application Google submitted to Apple for inclusion in the Apple App Store. We fully support the FCC’s goal of getting the facts and data necessary to inform its policymaking.

“To that end, let me state unequivocally, AT&T had no role in any decision by Apple to not accept the Google Voice application for inclusion in the Apple App Store. AT&T was not asked about the matter by Apple at any time, nor did we offer any view one way or the other.

“AT&T does not block consumers from accessing any lawful website on the Internet. Consumers can download or launch a multitude of compatible applications directly from the Internet, including Google Voice, through any web-enabled wireless device. As a result, any AT&T customer may access and use Google Voice on any web-enabled device operating on AT&T’s network, including the iPhone, by launching the application through their web browser, without the need to use the Apple App Store.”

AT&T might not be completely out of trouble as they have admitted:

"AT&T has had discussions with Apple regarding only a handful of applications that have been submitted to Apple for review where, as described below, there were concerns that the application might create significant network congestion."

I guess they are referring to SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone, which works only over Wi-Fi due to restrictions imposed by AT&T, as they had concerns of bandwidth consumption.

Meanwhile, there are reports that Google might also be investigated as users of mobile phones using Android OS can’t take advantage of full Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service from Skype.

“Consumers who use Android, the Google-developed operating system for wireless devices, can't use Skype, a leading Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. A pioneer in free Internet calling, Skype allows you to talk as long as you want without draining cellphone minutes.

Android users get Skype Lite, a watered-down version of the original that routes calls over traditional phone networks — not the Internet. As a result, long-distance calls are still cheap or free, but cellphone minutes are gobbled up every time a Skype Lite call is made.”

Google has responded that Android OS has the ability but had to block it due to request from the carrier (read: T-Mobile). However, T-Mobile spokesman has denied that is the case.

It will be interesting to see Apple’s response to FCC’s letter to find out the real reason Google Voice related iPhone apps were rejected.

Update:

Apple and Google have also responded to FCC's letter, you can checkout all the interesting details by reading these post:

Apple Responds to FCC: We Didn't Reject Google Voice Application; We are Studying it's Impact on iPhone User Experience

Google Responds to FCC: App Store Version of Google Voice App Offers Significant Advantages

We will keep you posted on this developing story so stay tuned here at iPhone Hacks.

What do you think?

[via Engadget]