AT&T announces new FaceTime over Cellular policy

By , Nov 8, 2012

AT&T has announced today that it is reversing its decision to limit iOS 6’s FaceTime over Cellular ability to customers on its new shared data plans. The carrier says that subscribers with LTE devices will now be able to use the feature regardless of what data plan they’re on, as long as it’s not unlimited…

From AT&T’s press release (via MacRumors):

“AT&T today announced it will enable FaceTime over Cellular at no extra charge for iOS 6 customers with an LTE device on any tiered data plan. AT&T will also continue to offer FaceTime over Cellular to customers with any AT&T Mobile Share plan, as well as FaceTime over Wi-Fi, which has always been available for all customers. AT&T expects to roll out this functionality to customers over the next eight to ten weeks.

As part of its commitment to serving customers with disabilities, AT&T is also making FaceTime over Cellular available to deaf and hard of hearing customers who qualify for special text and data-only packages.”

As you know, Apple now has a handful of LTE devices available: the third generation iPad, the iPhone 5, and both the new iPad and iPad mini. So owners of any of these products should be able to take advantage of AT&T’s new FaceTime over Cellular policy, provided they’re on iOS 6 and not on an unlimited plan.

It’s good to see AT&T reverse its course here. The carrier took a lot of heat earlier this year when it announced that it was going to be essentially forcing its customers to sign up for one of its new data plans to use FaceTime over its wireless network. There was even talk of lawsuits and the FCC getting involved.

While it’s unfortunate that AT&T’s not including unlimited data plans in the policy change, it’s par for the course. Big Red never came out and said the FaceTime feature was plan-restricted, but it’s been pushing customers off of unlimited data plans since the summer. Sprint, for its part, still offers unlimited data, and has no FaceTime restrictions. But its LTE network is far behind the two larger carriers in both speed and coverage.

Apple added the FaceTime over Cellular feature to iOS 6 this summer. Prior to that users could only make FaceTime calls over Wi-Fi networks, unless they were jailbroken. And in its latest iDevices, it has bumped up the resolution in its forward-facing cameras to further improve the video chatting experience.

What do you think, good move by AT&T here?

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  • TonyVee73

    How uses Facetime anyway? I have 4 Facetime able iPhones in my family and I think we’ve used it like 5 times the 1st week we got them and that’s it.

    • http://www.idownloadblog.com Sebastien

      I use FaceTime several times a week with friends and family that are in France.

      • TonyVee73

        Ah. When I talk to my family in Italy, I use Skype. None of them have iPhones over there.

    • 1337lolzorz

      Cool story bro!

      • TonyVee73

        I know…

  • http://www.facebook.com/Becky.hahahaha Charles Ryder

    That’s fucked up. I have unlimited data on my iPhone 5 and would like to FaceTime my girlfriend when I’m in another state working over cellular. Wow

  • http://www.facebook.com/seanmhughes Sean Hughes

    So because I have been with the company for years and kept my unlimited plan, I am getting railed in the A**

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      yup they want to make more money off you..

  • Guest

    Bullshit for the unlimited costumes…. “hey you’ve been with us for a long time and we would like to reward you for your loyalty.” – Said no one at AT&T ever.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513117907 Bennett Newsome

    Bullshit for the unlimited customers… “hey you’ve been with us for a long time and we would like to reward you for your loyalty.” – Said no one at AT&T ever.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      welcome to capitalism

    • http://twitter.com/alexx1291 Cazz

      right? and we get throttled when over 5gb? i went from 25mbps to .20mbps. I asked them since I’m in hurricane sandy affected NJ can i have a break since there are no ISP at the moment. simply said no, since it’s “automatic”

      Unlimited is not truly unlimited. can someone take them to court again?

  • http://www.3sixtydegreescouting.com/ Greg Braddock

    That is such hogshit. I don’t use FaceTime or have an unlimited plan but are you effing kidding me? This is a CLEAR money grab: “we know you’re gonna go over using FaceTime on a tiered plan, so have it,” if people were smart, they wouldn’t bother. AT&T is really pissing me off.

  • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

    “as long as it’s not unlimited…”
    well f*ck you too AT&T :)

  • Ignacio Irigoyen

    God bless jailbreak and the tweaks that saves people from greedy, money graving companies that care 0% on their users.

    • ChiefSpecialK

      I remember when people used to use jailbreak tweaks for tethering and once At&t allowed it started switching people’s plans over to a tethered allowed plan for tethering. Remember they can see what traffic is going over their network.

  • http://twitter.com/jmarsh5 Justin Marshall

    While it does suck for unlimited customers, it would absolutely annihilate their network if people could use FaceTime over LTE on an unlimited plan. LTE eats up so much data. I went over my allotted data on LTE in a week by simply doing what I always did with my iPhone 4 on 3G. Can’t imagine the amount of data that I would use if I could use however much I wanted in FaceTime data if I was unlimited. There are other options like Tango and Skype though.

    • ThisBrian

      Unlimited is only 5 gigs, it’s not like we get all we want.

      • http://twitter.com/jmarsh5 Justin Marshall

        Isn’t it up to 5 GB and then throttled? It is still unlimited, just slowed down. I think this is correct at least.

      • Ron7624

        Throttled is almost like having no connection. Really. Going to a new web page takes so long that either you ‘time out’ or lose interest in why you were going there.
        I’ve been throttled twice and could barely use the phone.

  • joebot4

    Does this also lock out Straight Talk subscribers who are on unlimited data? The Straight Talk AT&T SIM card is an AT&T SIM card via AT&T’s MVNO partnership.

    Additionally, Straight Talk can’t do AT&T LTE because the MVNO partnership doesn’t provide the technology means to do so.

    Looks like AT&T is messing hard with their MVNOs… especially iPhone subscribers…

  • CollegiateLad

    I switched to Verizon and I’m loving it!!!

    • ChiefSpecialK

      So you switched to Vz and have a tiered plan? Cause my buddy who has unlimited can’t upgrade without losing his plan, unless he pays for the full price.

  • ricky_nguyen

    Will this work with non shared tiered data plans on AT&T

    • http://www.idownloadblog.com Sebastien

      Yes

      • Guest

        Ah. When I talk to my family in Italy, I use Skype. None of them have iPhones over there.

  • http://twitter.com/Rich_Inniss  Rich 

    That is such bull. I’m a long time AT&T customer with unlimited data, and then they want to screw me by not allowing me to have face time over cellular.

  • sheetheadj

    AT&T is full of shit. Can’t wait to see them fail.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    and this is why i stay jailbroken

  • willie_walk

    For a minute there I was excited until I kept reading. I don’t know what to say about AT&T, but at least everyone on the tier plans can use it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=720474005 Alnando Espaillat

    Yeah big deal haven’t they heard of jail breaking an iPhone ? If they were able to make a older iPhone to use FaceTime over data without wifi what makes them think they can’t do the same? This is just pointless

  • http://twitter.com/musheded I am me

    AT&T d-bags all. I have an unlimited plan that isn’t really unlimited since my phone does not have full functionality even though over the last 4 years I’ve paid substantially more than someone with a tiered plan would. If I didn’t hate Verizon so much I would switch back to them, or if T-Mobile actually got their act together and offered the iPhone I’d switch to them in a second (awesome customer service and decent cellular/data and NOT AT&T or Verizon).

  • http://twitter.com/aomia syler

    If not for my unlimited I would have ditched their ass a long time ago. T-Mobile is looking real good right about now. O and no hotspot wtf big red has it AT&T blows

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

    I wonder when this goes live.

  • http://twitter.com/iydomngz iydomngz

    another great New,, i can use FaceTime over celular data on Straightalk Prepaid.. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/larrain1 Martin Larrain

    And that’s why I’m waiting a jailbreak for iPhone 5 I have been with them since the first iPhone and they came out with this BS

  • jose castro

    Use tango

  • http://www.facebook.com/slesseos Scott Lesseos

    As many have said, this is a clear money grab intended to get tiered customers to go over their limit, while also a strategic move to get people to dump their unlimited plan. So for all the unlimited users, use Skype or a variant video chat app instead. Works fine on unlimited!

  • The painfultruth guy

    WELL AS LONG AS YOU KEEP BENDING OVER AND TAKING IT FROM AT&T ( just because you want the iPhone) then your gonna kept getting screwed! PEOPLE DAIL TO REMEMBER THAT THEY ARE THE CONSUMER! They control how companies run their business!! I left AT&T when they started their games APPLE IS SAME WAY..

  • http://www.facebook.com/Noahhite2014 Noah White

    Hmmm lets fight the power! Everyone who can jailbreak your iPhone, do it and then install facebreak or something that will allow you to use cellular data for FaceTime. Then all at the same time, all around the country, we call anyone on at&t and completely F**K THEM UP! :) lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/gjantonini Joey Antonini

    nope, not at all for me. when my iphone 5 first starts up its enabled for a few seconds then switched to off after it communicates with the network. Wish there was a way to bypass it.