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iOS 6 message prompts speculation carriers may charge for 3G FaceTime

post #1 of 83
Thread Starter 
iPhone 4S users running the latest beta of iOS 6 have encountered an error message that has led to speculation that AT&T and other carriers could begin charging users to access FaceTime video chat over cellular data networks.

"To enable FaceTime over cellular on this account, contact AT&T at 611," reads the prompt in iOS 6, discovered by iDownloadBlog. The message first appeared with this week's release of iOS 6 beta 3, and only shows up when a user attempts to enable FaceTime over 3G on AT&T's network, not Verizon's.

For its part, AT&T refused to elaborate further on the error message found in the third beta of iOS 6. In a statement, the company said it is "working closely with Apple on the new developer build," and that it will "share more information with our customers as it becomes available."

The error message in iOS 6 is similar to the type of prompt users receive when they attempt to turn on the "Personal Hotspot" tethering feature already found in existing releases of iOS. That's led some to assume that carriers like AT&T are at the very least considering charging users for the ability to make FaceTime video calls over 3G.

FaceTime over 3G is one new feature coming when iOS 6 launches this fall, though the functionality will be restricted to the iPhone 4S and cellular-capable models of the third-generation iPad.

FaceTime


Update: One AppleInsider reader inquired with U.K. carrier O2 about support for FaceTime over 3G. An online representative indicated that the feature will be included in the data allowance for iPhone users (see screenshot below).

O2


When FaceTime was first announced with the launch of the iPhone 4 in 2010, then-Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs indicated that his company wanted to allow FaceTime calls over 3G, but that Apple needed to "work a little bit with the cellular providers" to bring that capability to users.

Apple already allows some carriers to block or restrict certain functionality on their networks. For example, when iOS 3.0 was released with tethering capabilities, AT&T blocked the paid feature until a year later, with the release of iOS 4.0.
post #2 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

iPhone 4S users running the latest beta of iOS 6 have encountered an error message that has led to speculation that AT&T and other carriers could begin charging users to access FaceTime video chat over cellular data networks.

 

The FCC really has to step in here and give the carriers a choice: start following principles of network neutrality, or lose their license to the public airwaves. What's next, you have to pay for a data plan but pay extra to access the Web?

 

Don't forget, this is yet another area where Google (in conspiracy with Verizon) has plotted to harm consumers.

post #3 of 83

AT&T: "It's an added feature"

Me: "I paid for my bandwidth, stop telling me how to use it."

post #4 of 83

Purely speculation folks.

 

My guess is that the carriers want to formerly "warn" users before they use this feature as it will chew up MBs faster than any other App.

post #5 of 83

Presumably they mean charge extra over and above your data plan? Sadly I'm sure if they can they will, it's just a case of how much.

post #6 of 83
It seems Rogers in Canada has already confirmed to customers that they will not charge extra for Facetime over 3G. It's very likely that Bell and Telus will follow suit, as they have in the past when Apple challenged the carriers to do the right thing.
post #7 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post

Purely speculation folks.

My guess is that the carriers want to formerly "warn" users before they use this feature as it will chew up MBs faster than any other App.

That's something that requires calling in? Couldn't a prompt do that just as effectively? If they want you to call in it's because they need to authorize further charges to your CC.

Now the question is, will they offer a FaceTime plan? For X$ a month you get unlimited FaceTime data that doesn't count toward your Data plan?

Remember they wanted to try to get developers on this type of platform.
post #8 of 83
You're more optimistic than I am. If they get away with this an extra iMessage monthly fee will be next. No difference.
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post #9 of 83
Would that be considered a kind warning by the telco's as a warning to using more bandwidth or simply be facetious?
post #10 of 83

Love the iPhone and the concept of smartphones, in general, but until the Carriers have their own gonads snipped with this nickel and dime approach for traffic I'll keep using low tech and a Lan line for all data intensive needs.

post #11 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

Why does this article state "carriers" when the only one that seems to have a problem with Facetime over 3G is AT&T. Change the title to reflect the reality since Verizon and Sprint don't seem to have any problem with it.

 

It has to do with the fact all major US Carriers price structure equivalently, with a gimmick to wink and nudge one to go their way.

post #12 of 83
Ball's in your corner, Verizon. iPhone 5 is coming.
 
Additionally, if I leave AT&T, I'm going to go crazy with my 'unlimited' data plan, get throttled, and take them to small claims court.
post #13 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

Why does this article state "carriers" when the only one that seems to have a problem with Facetime over 3G is AT&T. Change the title to reflect the reality since Verizon and Sprint don't seem to have any problem with it.

Hmm. If true, that seems to me to be an opening for ATT's competitors. I've been with ATT since the iPhone 3g, but that would probably be the straw that makes me switch.
post #14 of 83
So does anyone have any idea what the 5 GB I pay for is actually FOR? E-mail? Or is that extra too?
post #15 of 83
That is spooky, I posted a comment to this thread a few minutes ago and it hasn't appeared, does anyone else find the forum doesn't like iPad very much?

Anyway, I wanted to express my sympathy to all of you in the US, you seem to get very expensive restrictive contracts from the national telco companies. But then I am amazed that a country with your population only has four major players, this is the spiritual home of capitalism and the land of the free, isn't it?
post #16 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleZilla View Post

Ball's in your corner, Verizon. iPhone 5 is coming.
 
Additionally, if I leave AT&T, I'm going to go crazy with my 'unlimited' data plan, get throttled, and take them to small claims court.

thats a failed idea.  Throttled is still unlimited.

post #17 of 83

just another reason why i'm dumping AT&T in 2 months and going prepaid.

post #18 of 83

Total Garbage.

 

I can already Skype video chats, use Slingbox to stream Video.

 

AT&T is already getting paid for my use of their bandwidth.

 

This is how greed kills innovation.

post #19 of 83

Throttling and messages will "magically" disappear once they do away with the last "unlimited" plan.  They will encourage you to use all the data you want, and watch the slow network complaints return, just like the complaints awhile back about lousy slow data coverage until they magically decided to do away with unlimited plans for new subscribers (they then turned on the so-called 4G speedier network just prior to the iphone4s arrival.

 

ATT is a shark of the worst kind, and Verizon is no better.

 

Simple idea:  Who NEEDS to see the person on the other end - most young folks just text anyhow, and don't care to talk anymore.  I predict Facetime will get little real usage anyhow, regardless of the charges levied by the carriers, and any families who do a lot of video talking will just use wifi or skype anyhow, rather than cellular data.

 

When the last "unlimited" plans disappear (soon probably) we can finally get to an "all-data" plan, and so away with the nonsense we have now.  Then the cable guys will start charging for data on the home wifi plans, and we'll have to get congress to step in to try to solve the net-neutrality problem that will create, as well as the "special" content delivery problem, whereby comcast won't "charge" for their own data content.  Stayed tuned, kids - it will get real interesting.


Edited by Bagman - 7/17/12 at 11:08am
post #20 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

just another reason why i'm dumping AT&T in 2 months and going prepaid.

to which service?

post #21 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagman View Post

Throttling and messages will "magically" disappear once they do away with the last "unlimited" plan.  They will encourage you to use all the data you want, and watch the slow network complaints return, just like the complaints awhile back about lousy slow data coverage until they magically decided to do away with unlimited plans for new subscribers (they then turned on the so-called 4G speedier network just prior to the iphone4s arrival.

 

ATT is a shark of the worst kind, and Verizon is no better.

 

Simple idea:  Who NEEDS to see the person on the other end - most young folks just text anyhow, and don't care to talk anymore.  I predict Facetime will get little real usage anyhow, regardless of the charges levied by the carriers.

Verizon still allows unthrottled LTE for those who have unlimited grandfathered.

post #22 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

 

The FCC really has to step in here and give the carriers a choice: start following principles of network neutrality, or lose their license to the public airwaves. What's next, you have to pay for a data plan but pay extra to access the Web?

 

Don't forget, this is yet another area where Google (in conspiracy with Verizon) has plotted to harm consumers.


What makes this another plot of Google?

post #23 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

You're more optimistic than I am. If they get away with this an extra iMessage monthly fee will be next. No difference.

How is there no difference? I mean, there are some similarities. But no difference?

post #24 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

Verizon still allows unthrottled LTE for those who have unlimited grandfathered.

Yeah - but for how long, once ATT gets their hands on the iphone5, with LTE capability.  Once they do away will unlimited, the collusive giants will have their way with all of us.  The days of unlimited data are numbered, I'm afraid.

post #25 of 83
Now the question is what if you already have FaceTime enabled over cellular before installing iOS 6 Beta 3. Will you still get the error? I guess I am going to have to do a FaceTime call over 3G now to see if I get the message since I already have it enabled.

Anyone already test this?
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post #26 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagman View Post

Simple idea:  Who NEEDS to see the person on the other end - most young folks just text anyhow, and don't care to talk anymore.  I predict Facetime will get little real usage anyhow, regardless of the charges levied by the carriers, and any families who do a lot of video talking will just use wifi or skype anyhow, rather than cellular data.

You can use FaceTime for audio only if you want. It doesn't have to be video.
post #27 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by johndoe98 View Post


You can use FaceTime for audio only if you want. It doesn't have to be video.

Why would you use Facetime for audio only - hello, they call it "cellular phone service" - that old favorite we all used to use a lot, unless you are bumping up against the antiquated call minutes limit, and need to use wifi on facetime?  This is what makes it so confusing to consumers - trying to get around the antiquated pricing structure that we now have, while trying not to get gauged too badly by the shark carriers.

post #28 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

Verizon still allows unthrottled LTE for those who have unlimited grandfathered.

 

Verizon will no longer be honoring grandfathered unlimited data plans once the contract is up. You will have to select a new data package. So this will only be true until the turn-around of customers contracts who have unlimited data. 

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post #29 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

to which service?

 

Can't speak for him/her but I plan to switch to Straight Talk. $45 for unlimited voice, text and 2GB of data (throttled down after 2GB). It doesn't support visual voicemail but I can live with that.

 

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post #30 of 83

Sprint is starting to look better and better.  Unlimited data AND cheaper plans.  Anyone here have Sprint with their iPhone?

post #31 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

 

Verizon will no longer be honoring grandfathered unlimited data plans once the contract is up. You will have to select a new data package. So this will only be true until the turn-around of customers contracts who have unlimited data. 

The carriers are absolutedly salivating at the thought of the data revenue they will make on LTE network usage - most will blow through $50/month plans in 30-45 minutes of LTE video usage.  I can hear the parents screaming already at the bill they will get - reminds me of the first call minute overage charges I got on my son's first cellphone - ah yes, those were the days.

post #32 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

 

Verizon will no longer be honoring grandfathered unlimited data plans once the contract is up. You will have to select a new data package. So this will only be true until the turn-around of customers contracts who have unlimited data. 

False.  If contract is up you can keep using your phone. No one forces you to upgrade. If you want to change your phone you can just purchase a phone via third party (full price). Who says you need to always be on contract. 

 

Phones are the cheapest part of owning a smartphone.  

post #33 of 83

Clearly all data is not equal. 

post #34 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Clearly all data is not equal. 

Well they lost their cash cow with imessage, and they already removed unlimited data so now they need another revenue source.

post #35 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagman View Post

Why would you use Facetime for audio only - hello, they call it "cellular phone service" - that old favorite we all used to use a lot, unless you are bumping up against the antiquated call minutes limit, and need to use wifi on facetime?  This is what makes it so confusing to consumers - trying to get around the antiquated pricing structure that we now have, while trying not to get gauged too badly by the shark carriers.

Voice plans are expensive. If I can do everything with my data only plan, I most certainly will.
post #36 of 83
I keep complaining of the high upfront cost of the iPhone in India. But when I see the ridiculously high monthly charges in the US, it feels like I am luckier in India!

I have to pay about $5 for 1GB, and $13 for 5GB (I never reach close to 1GB even!). And absolutely no limits on what I do with the data - tethering, FaceTime, whatever. And I get extremely low rates on voice, less than 1 cent a minute, and pretty much free text - first 100 msgs a day are free.

I pay $800 upfront for the basic 4S, but get back about $400 when I decide to sell it to upgrade. So works out about $16 a month in phone costs over 2 years. And if I use the phone for 3 years, just $11 per month.
post #37 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagman View Post

The carriers are absolutedly salivating at the thought of the data revenue they will make on LTE network usage

Quite a vivid imagination, the salivating, that is. Who exactly is salivating? The CEO, the CFO, the shareholders? AT&T et al are a corporation. Likely some of the top executives probably have some performance bonuses but they are just trying to keep their jobs and return a value to the shareholder, no different than Apple.

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post #38 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagman View Post

Why would you use Facetime for audio only - hello, they call it "cellular phone service" - that old favorite we all used to use a lot, unless you are bumping up against the antiquated call minutes limit, and need to use wifi on facetime?  This is what makes it so confusing to consumers - trying to get around the antiquated pricing structure that we now have, while trying not to get gauged too badly by the shark carriers.

FaceTime operates over a data network, and is not part of their voice minutes.  FaceTime can be done over WiFi or hopefully soon, the 4G network.  Just with iMessage, it would not be that much of a stretch for Apple to forward voice calls as data, further denying the telecoms future revenue.  All this coming down is the primary reason imho that the telecoms are doing away with "unlimited" data plans.  It would not surprise me if in 5 years, most (if not all) communications on cell phones will be primarily VoIP-based.

Charging-extra for FaceTime capability over 4G is a hugely moronic move if there is truth to that rumor.  If I pay $x/mo for a 2GB data plan, who the hell cares how I use that allotment?  That would be a seriously slippery slope the telecoms would be on if they pulled that stunt.

post #39 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post

Presumably they mean charge extra over and above your data plan? Sadly I'm sure if they can they will, it's just a case of how much.

 

More likely, this might be the carrot to get you off your grandfathered unlimited data plan. Facetime didn't work when you signed your contract and it will continue to not work. Therefore, you are getting the service you signed up for. If you want Facetime, upgrade your plan (ie, drop your unlimited plan). Charging extra for a particular data service would likely land them in a lot of hot water with the regulators. But not giving you a service you never had would be very defendable by the carriers.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

 

It has to do with the fact all major US Carriers price structure equivalently, with a gimmick to wink and nudge one to go their way.

 

Really? Looked at the plans recently? The minutes were similar between ATT and Verizon, but texting, for example, had different options (Verizon had more). And Sprints plans are even more different. Through into consideration Verizons new Share Everything and it's quite different than either Sprint or ATT.

 

Not saying any of them are great, but they are different. 

post #40 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

to which service?

straight talk

 

$40 - $45 a month unlimited minutes/text/data. my wife's iphone 4 contract is up next month and i'll just pay the ETF for my 4S and will get both phones unlocked

they go over AT&T's network and supposedly only MMS won't work which is a non-issue with imessage

 

at this point i don't even care if i keep the phone for 3 years. I hate Siri and don't play much games. Maps, i just bought navigon with the maps on the device and they use navteq

 

between the ridiculous new verizon family plans and the fact that i barely use any minutes and the fact that i'm on wifi 90% of the time i would have went to virgin and their $30 plan but i don't want to buy a new iphone

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