EchoStar "Encouraged" By FCC's iPhone Apps Inquiry


EchoStar joined the rooting section for the FCC's inquiry into reports of Apple's rejection of Google's voice application for the iPhone.

The FCC sent letters to Google, Apple and AT&T, with which Apple has a handset deal for the iPhone, asking for information by Aug. 21 in light of its ongoing proceedings on wireless open access and handset exclusivity. The Justice Department is said to separately be looking into such exclusive deals.

EchoStar said it was "encouraged" by the inquiry into the iPhone applications approval process. The company says its SlingPlayer application "has been denied access to AT&T's 3G Network on the iPhone" even though similar video streaming apps have been approved.

"There is a clear need for a more transparent and equitable approval process," said the company in a statement Monday. EchoStar owns Sling Media, but is separate from DISH Network, the DBS distributor, which was spun off from the mothership into a separate company in January 2008.

EchoStar's support for the inquiry was echoed by GiGi Sohn of Public Knowledge.

"Consumers everywhere should be pleased at the quick response of the Federal Communications Commission to the reports that Apple was blocking access to the Google Voice application," she said in a statement Monday. "This is exactly the type of aggressive, pro-consumer, pro-competitive action that we want to see from the FCC, and which has been long missing from the Commission's policy agenda.

"We look forward to reading the official responses to the Commission's letters from Apple and AT&T," she said.

In separate but possibly related news, Google's Eric Schmidt has resigned from the board of Apple in what was called a "mutual decision."