Here’s why we think AT&T might begin charging for FaceTime over cellular [Video]

By , Jul 16, 2012

This video showcases the new pop-up dialogue box that interrupts you when trying to enable FaceTime over cellular in iOS 6 beta 3.

Apparently, AT&T has a scheme in the works to pry more dollars from their iPhone customers. As Cody noted via Twitter, perhaps they’re thinking about rebounding after taking a hit on text messaging fees due to iMessage.

Take a look inside as we demonstrate the differences between an AT&T iPhone 4S, and a Verizon iPad 3, when attempting to enable FaceTime over cellular…

The AT&T iPhone 4S, as you may have guessed, did not allow us to enable FaceTime over cellular, and instead prompted us to contact AT&T via their website, or via phone. Interestingly enough, when you navigate to their website via the link provided, it tells you that they are “unable to process your transaction” at this time. I’m guessing that message stems from the fact that the backend to handle FaceTime account charges isn’t fully into place yet. This makes sense considering that iOS 6 is still a ways away from release.

What’s even more interesting is that the iOS 6 beta 3 firmware on my Verizon enabled iPad 3 features no such pop-up window; you can easily enable or disable FaceTime over cellular at your leisure on the new iPad on Big Red’s network. In fact, what’s even more interesting is that FaceTime over cellular was enabled by default in my video, but that’s likely just carryover since I performed an OTA update, and not a clean install.

This isn’t to say that Verizon won’t charge for FaceTime over cellular, but it’s a surefire indication that AT&T is strongly pondering the thought. In my opinion, it’s less likely that Verizon will take this route considering that they gladly provide Personal Hotspot usage on the new iPad free of charge.


Down with free FaceTime!

Personally, I’m sick of carriers like AT&T nickel and diming their customers with every waking chance. But I can’t say I’m surprised. You know that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is licking his chops at the idea of charging more for FaceTime usage over their network.

What do you think? Do you believe that AT&T is well within their jurisdiction to double dip their customers like this? Or do you think that they could be crossing the line?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/sadanro100 Lee Andrew

    why does yr iphone 4s say 4G on the statusbar???

    • http://twitter.com/RECON1_ [RΞCØИ1]

      That’s AT&T’s idea of I guess you could say false advertising 4G speeds. It is the HSPA+ which is more like 3G+. I think I got that right. Lol

    • http://twitter.com/RickT78 Richard Thompson

      That has to do with AT&T leveraging apple to change it to show the availability of “4g” speeds even though the phone itself isn’t a 4g phone.

    • http://twitter.com/VnABC VnABC

      If you have AT&T & your iPhone 4S has 5.1.1 installed, you will see the same thing 4G (hmmm fake 4G or 3G+)

  • http://twitter.com/RECON1_ [RΞCØИ1]

    Although I don’t use FaceTime very much, I would hate to pay extra just to have the feature. I won’t really agree with AT&T if they do end up charging extra. However, maybe if enough people complain about it they’ll change it? I mean they did give in a little and changed the throttling on “unlimited” plans sooo….

  • http://twitter.com/BouchardAnthony Anthony Bouchard

    What do I think? I think AT&T’s CEO needs to be replaced. It’s clear that he doesn’t know how to make his customers happy or run a company efficiently and that the loads of money he is already making just isn’t enough for him to buy that 600-story spa house with alien laser shields he has always wanted.

    I remember back in the day when everything could be had for less than $40 per month. AT&T – always taking & taking.

    • http://twitter.com/Jackzzz99 Jack Wong

      All he cares is how much they can make the $ out from our pocket.

      Facetime over 3G/4G fee is a joke.

  • Daniel

    I hope Rogers doesn’t do this in Canada. They prolly won’t since they give tethering away free.

  • @dongiuj

    What if i make a facetime call from my wifi to somebody connected to cellular?

  • http://www.facebook.com/iRawriLaugh Michael Anthony Fontanez

    I hope this doesn’t apply to us with the Grandfather Data! I think it wouldn’t be fair personally.

  • SimonReidy

    This is pathetic. FaceTime is supposed to be a ubiquitous service. You want to know that you can ring anyone with a an iPhone 4/iPad2 or higher and know that they will be able to take the call.

    Instead, only a small percentage of people will be willing to pay the additional fee for this service on “4g”, and the call won’t go through to iOS owners you know if they are not on Wi-Fi (even though their device is perfectly capable of taking the call).

    This is another win for Skype and Google Talk. Sure the picture quality and iOS integration isn’t as good, but they are both cross-platform, and can be used freely on wi-fi or 3G without any carrier restrictions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Club.morabeza Morabeza Brockton Ma

    Can we say d-bag…. :0) then they wonder why so many iphone is unlocked and on t-mobile THNaK GOD for SAM unlock :0)

  • http://twitter.com/joshhami Josh Hamilton

    i have an iPhone 4s with at&t and i already had FaceTime over cellular enabled in iOS beta 2 and its still enabled and it works over cellular no problem. i haven’t disabled it because i don’t want that warning but as of now its still enabled and I’m able to use it on iOS 6 beta 3

  • http://twitter.com/ashleybury Ashley Bury

    It’s the same as charging for Internet tethering, I don’t use anywhere near my limit on Internet usage, but if I want to use tethering I have to buy more internet, it’s ridiculous, why can I just use the Internet I have already paid for and don’t use?!

    If this happens for FaceTime over 3G I certainly won’t be using it!

    It’s all money money money, you’d think £45.00 a month would be enough to charge me for a phone!

    Ash,
    Manchester, UK.

  • Solo TechMaster

    I feel sorry for you american users. Here in the UK i am on an unlimited internet plan (no fair usage policy) with tethering. I can do whatever i want and i am not restricted in anyway. And guess what? All this for only $20 a month. (Including mins and texts) £13 here.

  • Manuel Molina

    This might be problematic for jailbreak users who FaceTime over 3G already. Will at&t realize that, then try to stop them like those who had unlimited plans and tethered without the hot spot plan? I hate how these carriers are killing us to have smart phones. Apple should just make their own carrier and call it quits on giving these companies all the freeway with pricing; they take so much away from customers.

  • http://twitter.com/theda_techie Theda

    I know that i wont be staying with AT&T if they choose to do that, im already out of contract on all my phones on my account. I’ll jump right to Sprint with unlimited everything( little slower but hey its a cell phone not my home connection). I only stay with AT&T now because i got the unlimited data. I think its crazy to charge more for the same amount of data. But it might be more for people who do not have Unlimited(doubt it but hey its nice to dream lol)…..

    • andrewmx

      If you can, find someone with a Sprint iPhone in your area and test out the speed. It’s actually *so* slow here, I would rather pay more for something like Verizon and *lose* unlimited data. I can’t use it because I get ~10kbps on average (this is with 5 bars across multiple cities, and I don’t exactly live in the middle of no where)

      • http://twitter.com/theda_techie Theda

        Yeah my friend has Sprint and his speed is slower then mine but its also steady, its like 60k compared to my 130k (at work which my att connection BLOWS). But i was thinking about this. If people have My3G then they wouldn’t really have to worry about it, because Face-time would check to make sure its connected to WiFi before using it and My3G would tell Face-time its on WiFi and it would make the call.

      • http://twitter.com/andrewmunsell Andrew Munsell

        I wish 3G was that fast here… Which is sad because 60k isn’t fast either. I’m probably just getting a FreedomPop. That way, regardless what carrier I have, Facetime will work.

      • http://twitter.com/theda_techie Theda

        I would just come to down to fighting with AT&T about using Face-Time because they would insist and all you would have to say is that your using your “Unlimited” internet and facetime is part of the Data….

  • http://twitter.com/Mkhan1544 Muhammad Khan

    *raises one hand*
    TO VERIZON!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/arcangelmk Brandon Lee Robinson

    This is why I love having straight talk on my iPhone, I don’t have to pay for any of this mess. I think ATT is about to lose a lot of customers over stuff like this.

  • Dan

    Seems to me that this problem is easily resolved if you are jailbroken. Wouldn’t 3G unrestrictor still work in IOS 6?

  • http://twitter.com/thundiyils Jacob Samuel

    I would not say the information in the post is wrong; but I just did facetime on AT&Ts 4G network on my iPhone 4S with iOS 6 Beta3. I did not get any message on the screen asking me to call or visit website as posted on this post. Anyone else? … and for the record my phone is not JailBroken!

  • Will Walker

    I’m glad I don’t have an iPhone anymore other wise I would be ticked off as well. If they keep this up, they want have any customers. That’s one of the main reasons I didn’t do an early upgrade. I truly hope they go back to doing business the way they use to.

  • http://twitter.com/hunterray55 pwned apple

    i never knew verizon offered free tethering!!!!!!!!!!!! anyone have a page for that?

  • ic0dex

    If AT&T pulls this crap I’ll personally drive to their headquarters and slap Randall across his face. this is BS and we as AT&T users should stand up for our selfs and do something. I really don’t want to switch to Verizon or Sprint because their service sucks where I live. We would have to get the medias attention so they can give them a bad name.

    Who’s with me?

    Power to the people!

  • Jonathan Mrdrexclusive

    Hey Jeff what program u use to block certain things like u did on the video u blocked ur number.

  • Joel lester

    I never understand why people are shocked…They are businesses b/c they want to make money. If they did everything to make customers happy then they would probably go broke, b/c customers want unrestricted data, unlimited calls and txts for $20/month. If I have learned one thing, whether it’s AT&T Verizon they will both begin doing the same thing..Who ever does it first will be the devil, and everyone will run to the other. After they get contracts then they will do the same thing. That’s the gift and the curse of a capitalist economy. Ironically enough people show far more outrage for phone companies price changes than the gas companies that basically rape us with no grease.

    As mentioned, the best solution is to Jailbreak and get 3G unrestrictor or My3G. I have been using facetime over data since it came out

  • seyss

    As proven by My3G, Facebreak and other tweaks, Facetime over 3G and Personal Hotspot are transparent for the carriers.

    What I find even more absurd than AT&T’s discrimination of internet traffic is Apple lying about it. They said both require “carrier compatibility”. BULLSHIT.

  • http://twitter.com/SpiderrMonkey Adonis

    Thats why i have Straight Talk now…..its basically AT&T for $45 :D

  • TheDutSerio

    Honestly if you have a data plan then it shouldn’t matter how you use it. If you wanna use cellular hotspots then fine. We will just charge you what ever you go over. Wanna use facetime over cellular, also fine. It’s not like they dont make enough money off of heavy users anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/krzyray Ray

    i think its stupid. thats why i will not upgrade if they will charge since my jailbroken 4s already FaceTime over 3g network and uses my limited data plan already .

  • Mark Smith

    line