When we first saw the message asking us to contact AT&T before we could enable FaceTime over Cellular, we knew something was up. Now the cat has been let out of the bag.

As it turns out, AT&T won’t be charging for FaceTime over Cellular as if it were a separate feature, but it will require you to switch to their new shared data plan.

What do you think about this?

It is technically possible to switch to a shared data plan without it costing you much more, but there are certainly some items you’d need to consider before making the switch.

We explained shared data plans in a previous post, but basically it boils down to this:

  • You receive a preset pool of data for a flat fee.
  • The higher the amount of data you select, the lower the cost of each smart phone you add to your pool.
  • Tablets and such will cost less than adding a smart phone to the pool.

For instance, if I selected to have 1GB of data for two smartphones, it would cost $130. $40 + $45 + $45 = $130.

If I selected 6GB for two smart phones, it would cost $160. $90 + $35 + $35 = $160.

I could add a tablet to my plan for an extra $10, and share the 6GB of data with the other two smart phones.

When I do the math, that’s really not all that worse than what I pay now, and in some cases it may be even cheaper.

I pay around $153 per month for two iPhones. One has the grandfathered data pro with 4GB, and the other has 2GB. That’s a total of 6GB between the two for $153, which is $7 less than the shared data.

The ability to use a tablet for an extra $10 is a big plus for me, as I don’t tend to use a lot of data on my smartphones, and 5GB of data for a tablet is $50 by itself (on Verizon).

If I managed things right, I could save a lot more money per month than a I do now, but of course that’s just my individual situation. Your mileage may vary.

What do you think? Should AT&T force customers to switch to a different plan, when it’s all the same data, and you’re capped at a certain amount anyway? I think it’s kind of foolish that they can tell you how to use the data that you’re already paying for, but again, we’ve been down this long windy road before.

Anywhere these guys can figure out how to nickel and dime you, you best believe they will. I’ll go ahead and post Mr. Stephenson’s smug mug just to fire you up all the more…

Fire away.