AT&T kicks off support for Google Hangouts video chat

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AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) has begun the process of offering cellular network support for preloaded video chat applications like Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Hangouts, making good on a promise the operator first announced in May.

"Throughout the second half of this year, we plan to enable preloaded video chat apps over cellular for all our customers, regardless of data plan or device," AT&T told Engadget. "That work is underway and expected to be complete by year end."

Hangouts--available for Google's Android, Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and the Web--integrates text, photo and video interactions into one service. When the service rolled out in May, many consumers cried foul because video chat functionality is disabled on AT&T Android devices connected to the operator's cellular network, although the feature is accessible over Wi-Fi connections.

As subscriber frustration with the policy mounted, AT&T soon pledged to lift restrictions on preloaded mobile video chat apps. At that time, an AT&T spokesperson told The Verge that the company has been slowly phasing in video calling capabilities across its network, noting that because preloaded apps generate greater usage than their downloaded counterparts, the carrier has chosen to take a "deliberate" approach to supporting the former.

Google Hangouts traffic lags far behind rival platforms including Viber, WhatsApp and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) Messenger, data usage solutions firm Mobidia reported earlier this summer. According to Informa Telecoms & Media, by the end of 2013 over-the-top messaging services like Google Hangouts will transmit double the number of SMS transferred by wireless carriers.

For more:
- read this Engadget article

Related articles:
Google Hangouts continues to trail rivals in usage, according to report
AT&T: Google Hangouts video chat support coming later this year
AT&T blocks Google Hangouts video chats on Android
Google targets WhatsApp, BBM and others with Hangouts app for Android, iOS

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