AT&T to offer iPhone 5 FaceTime over cellular without a shared data plan

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
AT&T announced on Thursday that it will enable FaceTime video calls for iPhone 5 users with any AT&T Mobile Share plan, expanding it beyond customers with its new shared data plans.

FaceTime over cellular will also be available to users of Apples third- and fourth-generation iPad, as well as the new iPad mini, running iOS 6. FaceTime over cellular will officially be available for any LTE device on any tiered data plan when the service launches in the next 8 to 10 weeks.

The only users who will be left out of FaceTime over cellular will be those with legacy unlimited data plans. AT&T transitioned to capped data plans in 2010, and this year began offering shared data plans.

AT&T also said it will make FaceTime over cellular available to deaf and hard of hearing customers who qualify for special text and data-only packages.

FaceTime


In an effort to encourage users to switch to its Mobile Share data plans, and also to limit bandwidth use on its network, AT&T originally chose to limit FaceTime over cellular calls to customers who subscribed to its Mobile Share plans. After facing criticism, AT&T defended its decision by arguing it did not violate the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules.

But AT&T's chief rival, Verizon, allows all iPhone 5 users to make FaceTime calls over cellular data connections, and did not limit access to its shared data plan customers. But Verizon's plan goes one step further and allows video calls on any data allowance tier, including legacy unlimited plans.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,564member
    Ummm, I don't see a link to the official AT&T announcement, just backlinks to older AI articles?

    Shouldn't there be a source link/source cited?
  • Reply 2 of 36
    icarbonicarbon Posts: 196member
    B**tards! I like my unlimited plan!

    (at least its something, now where's the free tethering?)
  • Reply 3 of 36
    When does unlimited not mean unlimited? This is ridiculous. I paid for an unlimited #@$$ plan. That is what I should get!
  • Reply 4 of 36
    ortort Posts: 39member
    You know what's funny...

    I have AT&T and a Mobile Sharing plan, and I can't get Factime to work at all. It never connects. Never.

    It's really frustrating and no one seems to have an answer.

    I can't even find a person who successfully makes facetime cellular connections... so I have no idea if my problem is widespread or not.

    No one seems to know or care.
  • Reply 5 of 36
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by iCarbon View Post



    B**tards! I like my unlimited plan!

    (at least its something, now where's the free tethering?)


    The article said the only people who don't get the plan are the unlimited... so it isn't something- it's nothing for us unlimited folks.... still.  No FaceTime and no Tethering.  Tethering- I don't like, but I understand.  FaceTime... I don't understand.

  • Reply 6 of 36
    What about AT & T hotspot support for the iPad and also the iPad mini?
  • Reply 7 of 36


    Since all the carriers are literally the same company, offering the same plans at the same prices and the same rules and restrictions, what reason is there to use AT&T?


     


    AT&T presently has data+voice, but Verizon actually has places with data. That's the only tradeoff I can see, and when VoLTE is done, AT&T won't have anything in their court.

  • Reply 8 of 36


    Too late.  I switched to Verizon.  Having been with AT&T since the original iPhone - I finally got tired of AT&T holding options hostage unless you upgraded to a new plan or paid extra.  Not that Verizon is much better, but having tried to argue for free tethering and free facetime over cellular with the customer service people - I voted with my feet.  

  • Reply 9 of 36
    lmgslmgs Posts: 63member
    Is Skype better or worse than FaceTime???

    I don't use either one, but it appears that AT&T has no issues with people using Skype..
  • Reply 10 of 36
    Except for showing the other person something with the backside camera, FaceTime is over-rated and mostly unnecessary. I consider the unlimited data plan superior in value. However, tethering is another issue. It is just plain stupid of AT&T to quibble with frustrated legacy subscribers looking for a reason to switch providers.
  • Reply 11 of 36

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rocketman View Post



    Except for showing the other person something with the backside camera, FaceTime is over-rated and mostly unnecessary. I consider the unlimited data plan superior in value. However, tethering is another issue. It is just plain stupid of AT&T to quibble with frustrated legacy subscribers looking for a reason to switch providers.




    As somebody who has never really been comfortable talking on the phone facetime is no over-rated and unnecessary. I definitely prefer being able to see the person I'm talking to rather than not

  • Reply 12 of 36

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by johnnyb0731 View Post




    As somebody who has never really been comfortable talking on the phone facetime is no over-rated and unnecessary. I definitely prefer being able to see the person I'm talking to rather than not



    Agreed - convenient way to show brother-in-law our new house, see an out-of-town friend's new baby - obviously this could be done via some other program, but facetime makes it simple and its a feature we use often

  • Reply 13 of 36
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    [quote] The only users who will be left out of FaceTime over cellular will be
    those with legacy unlimited data plan[/quote]
    To rephrase it, FaceTime over cellular is available ONLY to iOS 6 customers with an LTE device or those with a Shared data plan.

    iPad 1, 2 with a tiered data plan and all non-iPhone 5 users with a tiered data plan are still blocked.
  • Reply 14 of 36

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rocketman View Post



    Except for showing the other person something with the backside camera, FaceTime is over-rated and mostly unnecessary. I consider the unlimited data plan superior in value. However, tethering is another issue. It is just plain stupid of AT&T to quibble with frustrated legacy subscribers looking for a reason to switch providers.


     


    Two comments:


       1.  Facetime voice quality is surprisingly better and more clear than a regular cellular call.  Switching makes the voice quality sound like it's going from talking in a tin can (AT&T) to nice clear distinct sound.  A few times, me and the person I'm talking with simply put the phone down (so if you're looking at the screen, all you see is ceiling, or black (if the back camera is activated)).  The call quality is that much better.


     


       2.  When I need to see something (or I want to show something), Facetime comes in really really handy.  No more "next time I'm visiting, I'll take a look".  Now, I can see first-hand and guide them what I want them to do.

  • Reply 15 of 36
    jason98jason98 Posts: 763member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by LMGS View Post



    Is Skype better or worse than FaceTime???

    I don't use either one, but it appears that AT&T has no issues with people using Skype..


     


    Skype is terrible at least how it works on iPhone. Image quality is way worse and voice and video are out of sync most of the time.

  • Reply 16 of 36
    jason98jason98 Posts: 763member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by commandercrash View Post


    Too late.  I switched to Verizon.  Having been with AT&T since the original iPhone - I finally got tired of AT&T holding options hostage unless you upgraded to a new plan or paid extra.  Not that Verizon is much better, but having tried to argue for free tethering and free facetime over cellular with the customer service people - I voted with my feet.  



     


    How about not being to able to browse while on a call out of wifi access?  

  • Reply 17 of 36
    jason98jason98 Posts: 763member


    I am so glad I will be able to call my friends and relatives without having to be at home or office...


    I guess my FCC complaint (along with complaints from many others) has been finally heard.

  • Reply 18 of 36

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by commandercrash View Post


    Too late.  I switched to Verizon.  Having been with AT&T since the original iPhone - I finally got tired of AT&T holding options hostage unless you upgraded to a new plan or paid extra.  Not that Verizon is much better, but having tried to argue for free tethering and free facetime over cellular with the customer service people - I voted with my feet.  



    and of course, it was the loss of people like you that likely spurred ATT to act.

  • Reply 19 of 36
    remereme Posts: 74member
    Two words, F. U. AT&T

    I've dumped my ATT iPads for Verizon with free hotspot capability, and The family's cell plan is leaving ATT very soon, vultures. It's not like many will use facetime all that much or often, but it's handy for occasional chats where seeing is helpful, so frustrating to see folks without a clue lording over these plans like this.

    I have legacy unlimited LTE with the new 4G throttle cap I believe. I seldom even use 2G per month but it frickin shouldn't matter how I use the data. If I use too much of my UNLIMITED data for something like facetime you'll throttle me anyway so why do you care??? Arrgh!
  • Reply 20 of 36

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ort View Post



    You know what's funny...

    I have AT&T and a Mobile Sharing plan, and I can't get Factime to work at all. It never connects. Never.

    It's really frustrating and no one seems to have an answer.

    I can't even find a person who successfully makes facetime cellular connections... so I have no idea if my problem is widespread or not.

    No one seems to know or care.


    I use FT over cellular (LTE) periodically and it works PERFECTLY.  I have both initiated and received FT calls while on cellular.  Do be aware you can use a LOT of your data plan using FT.  A short 5-10 minute FT call easily chews up 15MB or more.  Still a nice to have feature along with tethering when needed.


     


    david

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