In a surprising move, telco AT&T is backtracking from its nonsensical policy of restricting FaceTime to its customers who subscribed to a Mobile Share data plan.

Today we learn that AT&T is promising to enable any video chatting application over cellular for all users, regardless of their data plan or device.

In a statement to The Verge, the wireless carrier said that by mid-June it will enable video chatting over cellular for its unlimited plan customers who have LTE devices from Apple, Samsung or BlackBerry, enabling these services for all customers throughout the second half of this year…

Here’s AT&T’s comment in its entirety:

For video chat apps that come pre-loaded on devices, we currently give all OS and device makers the ability for those apps to work over cellular for our customers who are on Mobile Share or Tiered plans. Apple, Samsung and BlackBerry have chosen to enable this for their pre-loaded video chat apps. And by mid-June, we’ll have enabled those apps over cellular for our unlimited plan customers who have LTE devices from those three manufacturers.

Throughout the second half of this year, we plan to enable pre-loaded video chat apps over cellular for all our customers, regardless of data plan or device; that work is expected to be complete by year end.

Today, all of our customers can use any mobile video chat app that they download from the Internet, such as Skype.

It should be noted that some AT&T customers reported back in November being able to make FaceTime calls over cellular, despite the fact they were on unlimited data plans.

The carrier took quite a bit of heat following the iOS 6 introduction in September 2012 over its controversial restricting of cellular FaceTime to shared data plans only. The firm later opened up the feature to legacy data plans, and then to LTE users. Earlier this January, AT&T expanded FaceTime over cellular to all tiered data plans.

From my vantage point, today’s announcement illustrates how illogical and unfair its policy was to begin with. I never really understood why AT&T would want to limit FaceTime over cellular at a time when most mobile carriers had already moved away voice minutes to selling cellular data.

Truth be told, the firm in a January post over at its Consumer Blog stated that it had initially restricted FaceTime because “we wanted to roll it out gradually to ensure the service had minimal impact on the mobile experience for all of our customers.”

iPhone 5 (two-up, white, FaceTime)

Indeed, an AT&T spokesperson told The Verge that “pre-loaded apps have higher usage than downloaded ones, and that because of this, AT&T decided to go with a ‘deliberate’ approach for the former”.

On the other hand, it could be argued that FaceTime calls over cellular is in no way different compared to other cellular downloads which count against a user’s monthly allowance.

I mean, why should carriers care how we use cellular data we paid for, no?

  • jose castro

    yeah, yeah heard that one before.

  • Bob

    I don’t know why Apple allow network carriers to have this kind of control. Like tethering for example, carriers want you to pay extra to use the data plan you already pay for. This is why the jailbreaking scene exists, to break through the barriers and limitations that these corporations set on us. We were born free, we will live free, we will DIE FREE! Okay maybe I’m getting a bit carried away lol. But you get the point.

    • iosPixel

      They may take our jailbreaks but they will never take our freedom!

      Thank you Evad3rs and all those who came before you and one wishes, all those that will follow.

    • Joe B


    • This is exactly why we jailbreak

    • therealjjohnson

      Im not sure apple is “allowing” a carrier to do anything. Apple just makes the device they have no control, from my understanding, over what the carrier does on their network. What can they possibly due to stop them? Refuse to sell them the device and lose millions in revenue for something people will pay for anyway? I agree that its wack what ATT has done but i dont think apple has anything to do with it. I could be wrong however…

    • your argument makes sense with limited data plans, but I can see why at&t would restrict tethering for users of unlimited data.

  • jose castro

    ether way i don’t care 3g unrestrictor is boss

  • QuarterSwede

    I’m on the Unlimited plan and I’ve got it enabled already. Tested it and it works! Woohoo!

  • Kevin

    Never thought I would see the day…

  • ExRoot

    Thanks to 3gUnrestictor I’ve been doing this for almost a year. All the times. 2 times today. Best part of my jailbreak. The worst part……AUXO ( Sorry but I hate that tweak.

  • yep. AT&T needs to allow us to use our data plans with tethering if they want to keep me around in the near future – these “no contract” carriers offer really good deals and it works out so that the user can purchase a new phone every year and still break about even when compared to the 2 year contract plan with a subsidized phone every 2 years! I really don’t get why we have to spend another $20 a month for tethering… why can’t we just have a data plan and use the data how we want?

  • halosys

    i phone is provide best features of application in mobile technology.

  • Gorgonphone


  • Rick

    Mywi take care of the tethering problem! The only thing is it won’t Bluetooth connect on verizon!!