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AT&T Says Its 3G Network Can Handle SlingPlayer

If you're addicted to your SlingBox, here's some good news from AT&T. The company recently approved a new version of the SlingPlayer Mobile application to work over its 3G network, instead of just Wi-Fi. Now, SlingBox users can stream their content to their mobile phone wherever they happen to be.
If you're addicted to your SlingBox, here's some good news from AT&T. The company recently approved a new version of the SlingPlayer Mobile application to work over its 3G network, instead of just Wi-Fi. Now, SlingBox users can stream their content to their mobile phone wherever they happen to be.Sling Media and its SlingBox have been around for years. The basic concept is a networked DVR that can be accessed remotely to watch recorded content. The device first let users watch their shows on the laptops. It eventually evolved to include streaming to mobile phones. AT&T, however, wouldn't let the app stream over its data network.

The $30 application, which is available to iPhones via the Apps Store, only works over Wi-Fi. This limitation seriously hinders the app's potential. Looks like the times they are a changin'.

Today AT&T announced that it has approved a new, optimized version of SlingPLayer Mobile to work over its 3G network. AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega said in a prepared statement, "Collaboration with developers like Sling Media ensures that all apps are optimized for our 3G network to conserve wireless spectrum and reduce the risk that an app will cause such extreme levels of congestion that they disrupt the experience of other wireless customers. Our focus continues to be on delivering the nation's most advanced mobile broadband experience and giving our customers the widest possible array of mobile applications."

In other words, apps can use AT&T's 3G network if they do their best not to overload it.

This and other announcements from AT&T prove that the company is in damage-control mode. Its network has been the source of ridicule -- especially from iPhone owners -- for some time. The company recently admitted that its network's performance is below average in the New York City and San Francisco markets. Both happen to be bastions of heavy iPhone use.

The company outlined plans to spend $2 billion improving its network this year, and made specific commitments to improve the performance in NYC and SF within the next 90 days. The company has also publicly said that its network can handle the forthcoming iPad from Apple. Some have their doubts.

Even though the new version of SlingPlayer Mobile has been approved, none of the companies involved have said if or when it will actually become available. They also haven't said if users who've already paid $30 for the Wi-Fi version will be allowed to upgrade for free. I'm sure we'll find out soon.