AT&T to enable FaceTime over cellular for all tiered data customers

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
AT&T announced on Wednesday it will enable FaceTime over cellular at no extra cost to any customers with a tiered data plan and compatible iOS device.

The announcement was made on the carrier's website by Mark Collins, senior vice president of voice and data products. The change means that iPhone 4S customers with tiered plans will be able to make FaceTime calls over the AT&T network.

"We have already begun updating our systems and processes and expect to start rolling the update out to customers on an ongoing basis beginning in the next couple of weeks," Collins wrote. "Customers do not need to do anything ??the update will be applied automatically over the next few months."

FaceTime


FaceTime over cellular will not come to older devices such as the iPhone 4 or second-generation iPad, even if they are running iOS 6. But that's because the hardware does not support mobile FaceTime connections ? a decision made by Apple, not AT&T.

Previously, AT&T had restricted FaceTime over cellular to customers who had switched to its Mobile Share plans, as well as those with an LTE device, such as the iPhone 5 or latest iPad, on a tiered plan.

AT&T came under fire for its initial decision, and the company was compelled to defend itself in a statement claiming its plan complied with Federal Communications Commissions that prohibit carriers from blocking services that compete with their own. The carrier argued that its decision was in compliance because AT&T does not offer its own competing preloaded video chat application.

AT&T began quietly activating FaceTime over cellular for more subscribers in November. At the time, some users who had grandfathered unlimited data plans said they too were able to use FaceTime. However, Wednesday's announcement indicated the ability will only extend to customers who have tiered data plans.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,044member
    Wait...so since I've grandfathered in to unlimited data, it doesn't work for me?
  • Reply 2 of 48
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    We have grandfathered 'unlimited' on my wife's and my phone, 2GB on daughter's, and 550 minutes shared (of which we use maybe 200 minutes between the 3 of us.)
    I was recently trying to reduce recurring bills and talked to AT&T.
    Turns out all of us are grandfathered, 2GB no longer exists and only 3GB is a reasonable option.

    Bottom line is that whether we all go to 3GB or to the shared data plan, ALL options result in a big RAISE in our monthly bill.
    Absolutely insane! And Verizon is no better.

    Where it up to me, I'd be switching to a 'load-as-you-go' stupid phone and a decked out iPad mini.
  • Reply 3 of 48
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post



    Wait...so since I've grandfathered in to unlimited data, it doesn't work for me?


    Apparently... and make sure you keep it because (as I note above) any changes you make will result in higher costs.


    Absolute theft on the part of the carriers.

  • Reply 4 of 48
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,679member


    Wait, no cellular facetime for iP4 owners?  Did I read that correctly?  I have an iP5, but most everyone else I know have an iP4.



    So facetime for the iP4 works fine for those on WiFi, but it doesn't work on a slower cellular connection?  WTF?  Someone explain this to me.

  • Reply 5 of 48


    TERRIBLE resolution on those cameras… image

  • Reply 6 of 48
    vorsosvorsos Posts: 302member


    I would assume the iPhone 5 is capable of more advanced real-time video transcoding to maintain perceived quality at a lower bitrate.


     


    Either way, this announcement doesn't really mean anything in my city's pathetic 4G throughput.

  • Reply 7 of 48

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post



    Wait...so since I've grandfathered in to unlimited data, it doesn't work for me?


    Yes, that would appear to be the case. This, partly, seems to be a strategy to incentivize grandfathered customers like us to move to a tiered plan.


     


    I can also see, from a business perspective, the network burdens of unlimited Facetime-over-cellular. 

  • Reply 8 of 48


    ...maybe it's time for a new AT&T service offering -- unlimited ButtTime...  That seems to be where we're getting it!

  • Reply 9 of 48
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    sflocal wrote: »
    So facetime for the iP4 works fine for those on WiFi, but it doesn't work on a slower cellular connection?  WTF?  Someone explain this to me.

    They probably have a 100 million iPhone 4's on their network. They might add it eventually if they determine the usage is low enough viz the load isn't too high, but I wouldn't count on it. I just hope they are also using QoS for FaceTime traffic.
  • Reply 10 of 48
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,449member
    carthusia wrote: »
    I can also see, from a business perspective, the network burdens of unlimited Facetime-over-cellular. 
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't think FaceTime counted toward the data plan, which is why ATT was fighting it ... Or was it that they didn't want their networks clogged up with streaming video?
  • Reply 11 of 48
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    TERRIBLE resolution on those cameras… ;)

    LOL

    Does anyone know what they use to pixelate an image?
  • Reply 12 of 48
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    mac_128 wrote: »
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't think FaceTime counted toward the data plan ...

    It absolutely counts toward your data usage if it's over the cellular network. The only free usage are calls to 611 and any SMS regarding your account.
  • Reply 13 of 48
    larryalarrya Posts: 550member
    carthusia wrote: »
    Yes, that would appear to be the case. This, partly, seems to be a strategy to incentivize grandfathered customers like us to move to a tiered plan.

    I can also see, from a business perspective, the network burdens of unlimited Facetime-over-cellular. 

    I think it's less to incentivize people to move off of unlimited plans, and more to simply make additional money from tiered customers. All the new plans are limited. Why not give those users every opportunity to incur extra data charges? There is no such opportunity with unlimited data plans.
  • Reply 14 of 48
    Stupid AT&T. I cannot wait for TMobile to start working on iPhone.
  • Reply 15 of 48
    65c81665c816 Posts: 133member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GQB View Post



    We have grandfathered 'unlimited' on my wife's and my phone, 2GB on daughter's, and 550 minutes shared (of which we use maybe 200 minutes between the 3 of us.)

    I was recently trying to reduce recurring bills and talked to AT&T.

    Turns out all of us are grandfathered, 2GB no longer exists and only 3GB is a reasonable option.



    Bottom line is that whether we all go to 3GB or to the shared data plan, ALL options result in a big RAISE in our monthly bill.

    Absolutely insane! And Verizon is no better.



    Where it up to me, I'd be switching to a 'load-as-you-go' stupid phone and a decked out iPad mini.


    I'll be testing out T-Mobile's $30 unlimited text/data + 100 minutes plan on an iPhone 4S.  That, with a Google Voice and Talkatone, will be extremely cheap...

  • Reply 16 of 48
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,511member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    It absolutely counts toward your data usage if it's over the cellular network. The only free usage are calls to 611 and any SMS regarding your account.

    Then the next question is how much data FaceTime uses typically. It's hardly streaming video, just ok frame rate, barely. But much better than no video.
  • Reply 17 of 48
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,486member


    Finally. It was odd that AT&T allowed Skype video chat but not FaceTime.

  • Reply 18 of 48


      The system is already starting to work.  I received a Facetime call on my ATT Iphone 5 when I was walking on the street in NYC about 10 days ago. It was pretty stable. I haven't seen a big jump in my data use from it so it is probably not too bad if you use it occasionally. It sure beats having to be on wifi to receive a call.

  • Reply 19 of 48
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,459member


    Its my data


    And I'll use as I want to


    Use as I want to


    Use as I want to


    You would use too since you pay for it too....

     

  • Reply 20 of 48

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 65C816 View Post


    I'll be testing out T-Mobile's $30 unlimited text/data + 100 minutes plan on an iPhone 4S.  That, with a Google Voice and Talkatone, will be extremely cheap...



     


    Hate to break it to you but GoogleVoice is going to start charging here very shortly.  So, you may want to rethink that setup.  Just warning ya.


     


     


    As for topic, I have had AT&T since first gen iPhone (then 3GS now on my 4GS) and have be "grandfathered" into the unlimited (ha ha) plan.  I will see about the new prepaid iPhones coming up here shortly or another carrier.  I only use texting (text and pics) and data (work emails, personal emails, play 2-3 games that need to check internet info quickly), rarely on the phone, and those calls are under 60 minutes a month mostly.  I don't use FaceTime, but would like it an option at times.  So I will be checking out my options when 5GS is released/announce/etc.  This whole trying to get us oldtimers to go to the higher price plans has gotten me irritated enough to leave them after all these years (including phones before the iPhone).  I for one hate paying 100 bucks a month for something others are paying a fraction of that for.

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