News: AT&T to Allow FaceTime on Tiered Plans

Posted on November 8, 2012

AT&T announced today that they would be reversing their prior decision to limit FaceTime only to those with the Mobile Share plans, and allow anyone who has an LTE device (iPhone 5, iPad mini, third- and fourth-generation iPads) and a tiered data plan to make FaceTime calls over cellular (both 3G, “4G”, and LTE). Those with 3G/”4G” devices (iPhone 4, 4S, iPad 2) or unlimited data plans won’t be included.

The press release explains more:

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…

Still, as Chris Ziegler of The Verge points out, this isn’t the biggest of victories for the consumer:

What we should’ve seen, in fact, is a sternly-worded press release from the Federal Communications Commission telling us that the data provided by AT&T on network utilization didn’t support the block, and that it was ordering the block removed. It couldn’t, of course, because it doesn’t have access to even a sliver of the data that AT&T does internally — and any attempt to obtain it would take months (if not years) of filings, proceedings, and legal maneuvers. This is AT&T’s world — the FCC is just living in it.

The limitations for older devices based on the type of cellular radio is still something that seems very arbitrary at this point. Still, it goes without saying that everyone can still use FaceTime over Wi-Fi on any device.

This post has been filed in News