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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 84
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,580member

    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.

  • Reply 2 of 84
    enjournienjourni Posts: 254member


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


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

  • Reply 3 of 84


    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.

  • Reply 4 of 84
    shaun, ukshaun, uk Posts: 1,050member


    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.

  • Reply 5 of 84
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 84
    johndoe98johndoe98 Posts: 278member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 84
    walshbjwalshbj Posts: 864member
    You're more optimistic than I am. If they get away with this an extra iMessage monthly fee will be next. No difference.
  • Reply 8 of 84
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,797member


    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.

  • Reply 9 of 84
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,438member
    Would that be considered a kind warning by the telco's as a warning to using more bandwidth or simply be facetious?
  • Reply 10 of 84
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,282member


    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.

  • Reply 11 of 84
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,282member

    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.

  • Reply 12 of 84

    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.
  • Reply 13 of 84
    sacto joesacto joe Posts: 742member
    gwmac wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 84
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    So does anyone have any idea what the 5 GB I pay for is actually FOR? E-mail? Or is that extra too?
  • Reply 15 of 84
    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?
  • Reply 16 of 84
    just_mejust_me Posts: 590member

    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.

  • Reply 17 of 84
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member


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

  • Reply 18 of 84
    mrrmrr Posts: 63member


    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.

  • Reply 19 of 84
    bagmanbagman Posts: 349member


    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.

  • Reply 20 of 84
    just_mejust_me Posts: 590member

    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?

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