AT&T Blocks Google+ Hangouts Video Chat

The Google I/O 2013 conference that enters its second day today has been a disappointment to most ordinary watchers like me because so far we haven’t seen a new Nexus device, Android 4.3 or 5.0 Key Lime Pie has not been unveiled and it seems the Google glass and a ton of software and service improvements is all we will be getting by the time the conference ends tomorrow.


Either way, Google’s launch of a new unified messaging system Google Hangouts which will be available as an online service, on Android and iOS is a very welcome move because it directly impacts every Google customer.  Some of the features off the Hangout include online messaging, status display e.g. when the other user or users are typing, syncing Hangout on devices, hundreds of emoji, one-time notifications and group video chats.

Google Hangout is live and you can give it a try.  If you have and have tried to connect to video chats on the new Google+ Hangouts and you are on AT&T, you must have encountered an error, telling you to connect on a WiFi network to complete the call.  Unfortunately, AT&T have already blocked Google hangout video chat on its network and the only way you can enjoy this is by connecting via WiFi.

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

What Explanation does AT&T give?

AT&T has responded to this issue with a statement reading:

“All AT&T Mobility customers can use any video chat app over cellular that is not pre-loaded on their device, but which they download from the Internet. For video chat apps that come pre-loaded on devices, we offer all OS and device makers the ability for those apps to work over cellular for our customers who are on Mobile Share.” – AT&T

What this means is that when you buy a phone and it has a pre-loaded application, then the phone manufacturer or the OS developer need to contact AT&T so that the application can be approved.  This is an understandable move because AT&T is just being watchful what apps can use their bandwidth.  But this is not a ‘reasonable’ explanation to end users who may already be paying for bandwidth on other apps such as email but in such a case AT&T says only Google can talk them into letting users hangout on video chat on its network.

Hangout Video Chat works on iPhone

It appears though that the iOS (iPhone) version of hangouts which comes as a separate download application from iTunes works just fine on AT&T according to Android Authority.  Users on iOS can make video calls on the cellular network while those on Android cannot despite the two applications being one and the same.  I guess AT&T just doesn’t want users making calls over its sata connection when they could be making more when users place voice calls.

For now, we just have to wait and see if this issue will be resolved quickly but if you really must have this feature now, there is a step-by-step work-around you can follow to avoid this restriction on the post How to Bypass AT&T Google Hangout Video Chat Block (Using Root).  Good luck.

Source: The Verge and Phone Arena