While Windows Mobile users were always been able to watch live TV over AT&T's 3G network, accessing their Slingbox by using Sling Media's SlingPlayer Mobile, iPhone users weren't able to do the same because AT&T said that such a bandwidth-intensive video service would overwhelm the 3G network. Therefore Sling Media limited the SlingPlayer Mobile for the iPhone to work over the iPhone's Wi-Fi connection only. And following AT&T's constraint, Sling Media has only offered the feature-limited SlingPlayer Mobile version for Apple's iPhone worldwide. But all that is about to change now - at least for AT&T customers - according to an article at The New York Time.
AT&T has announced Thursday morning that it will now allow the SlingPlayer Mobile iPhone app to stream home TV over its 3G network:
"Since mid-December 2009, AT&T has been testing the app and has recently notified Sling Media - as well as Apple - that the optimized app can run on its 3G network," said the carrier in a press release.
The upgraded SlingPlayer Mobile may not immediately available. Sling said it is still waiting for Apple to approve it for iTunes but anyone who already bought the US$ 30 app will get a free upgrade, Sling Media said.
At this point it's not clear if Sling Media will offer the 3G-unlocked version in the U.S. only or if other countries will benefit from this development as well. As we heard, AT&T wasn't the only carrier which was unhappy with Sling Media's potentially data-consuming mobile application.
UPDATE: Regarding the international availability of a 3G-enabled SlingPlayer Mobile for the iPhone, Sling Media informed us "that (so far only) AT&T has approved the use of the app but we await Apple's approval of an update of the full unrestricted version of SlingPlayer on 3G in the Apples App-Store". As a matter of fact, Sling Media is ready to roll-out the unrestricted SlingPlayer Mobile version, now it's up to Apple to approve it for all iPhone markets!
Cheers ~ Arne