If there’s one thing mobile computing users want it’s the ability to stream their video content over the 3G network. We’ve seen a lot of innovative applications being held up because telcos were worried that streaming video and television shows to a mobile device would be too much pressure on an already ballooning network.

SlingMedia player was one of the companies that had managed to create a video streaming application on the iPhone only to be told that the application would not be allowed to stream over the 3G network. Today, in a move that many thought would never happen, the sole carrier of the iPhone in the US (AT&T) has announced that they’ve been working with SlingMedia to create an application that would enable video streaming over the 3G network.

My first thought is… hurray.
My second thought is… WTF

This is great news if you’re a SlingMedia fan, and it’s even better news if you’re the type of person who gets really annoyed over the lack of raw video streaming over the 3G network.

The WTF news is summed up in the following quote from Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets

“we look forward to collaborating with other developers so that mobile customers can access a wider, more bandwidth-sensitive, and powerful range of applications in the future”

Some of us have dedicated a fair amount of time trying to determine whether Apple or AT&T was responsible for some of these video related applications being yanked from the AppStore.  It’s been an arduous process, but it’s starting to look like  de la Vega might be giving us a valuable insight.  We’re reading between the line of the de la Vega quote, but it seems to me that he’s saying that companies who develop innovative applications might also have to work with AT&T in the future to ensure that applications meet the needs of the mobile networks they run on before they will get approval from Apple.

I’m not necessarily against the concept of optimizing an application to meet AT&T’s network needs, but I wonder what kind of precedent this might be setting for the future. The SlingPlayer Mobile app might be optimized for AT&T’s 3G network, but what happens if the device is moved to another network, or another country even? Will the application meet those companies standards as well? It’s doubtful.  It’s starting to seem like Apple might be sticking with AT&T as the sole iPhone provider for a while.

Anyone else excited for all the strife the iPad might bring to this lingering debate?