AT&T reportedly activates FaceTime over cellular for all customers

in General Discussion edited January 2014
In a surprising move on Tuesday, second-largest U.S. wireless carrier AT&T quietly activated Apple's FaceTime over cellular for all subscribers, including grandfathered-in unlimited data users.

FaceTime OTA
FaceTime as seen on an iPhone 5 connected to AT&T's cellular 4G HSPA+ (left) and LTE (right) networks.

It appears that AT&T has made good on its promise to flip the switch on FaceTime over cellular for customers without a Mobile Share data plan, though the company also added in existing users who have carried over unlimited plans since the all-you-can-eat option was abolished in 2010.

Because the carrier has yet to make an announcement regarding its policy modification, the change may not yet be official, AppleInsider has reached out to AT&T and will report when a response is given.

For now, the system does work as a few first-hand tests proved iPhones are able to make video calls over both 4G HSPA+ and LTE networks to other devices connected to either cellular or Wi-Fi networks. Users may need to restart their handsets before the feature becomes available.

First reported by MacRumors, the option is apparently working on iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 units.

AT&T first announced that it would be limiting over-the-air FaceTime service to Mobile Share subscribers only, but recanted earlier in November after customers protested the decision. For its part, the telecom believed that its initial plan was lawful and complied with Federal Communications Commission regulations that prohibit carriers from blocking services that compete with their own.

Apple introduced FaceTime over 3G cellular with the iPhone 4S and expanded the feature to include subscribers of 4G networks with the iPhone 5. Of the top three U.S. carriers, only AT&T decided to impose limitations on certain iPhone users, while Verizon and Sprint offered the feature over their respective 4G networks when iOS 6 was launched in September.


  • Reply 1 of 53
    Finally, I didn't want to change my unlimited plan to a share plan just for FaceTime. Thanks AT&T :)

    LTE is superfast on the iPhone 5 here in Texas.
  • Reply 2 of 53

    Since AT&T already have a soft data cap for unlimited plan, this is the least they can do. 

  • Reply 3 of 53
    It's not working on my iPhone 5. I can't flip the switch to use cellular data for FaceTime.
  • Reply 4 of 53
    Not working for me still says I need a plan
  • Reply 5 of 53
    hardyman wrote: »
    It's not working on my iPhone 5. I can't flip the switch to use cellular data for FaceTime.

    Not working for me still says I need a plan

    Sounds like it might require a change to the carrier profile.

    If you go Settings » General » About does it say your carrier profile needs to be updated? If not, is it still not working when you power cycle your phone?
  • Reply 6 of 53
    Not working on my unlimited plan on iPhone 5
  • Reply 7 of 53
    Nope no go
  • Reply 8 of 53
    Worked after a reset of the phone
  • Reply 9 of 53
    All I did was turn off my iPhone and when I turned it back on it was switched to ON. Hope that helps.
  • Reply 10 of 53
    Worked after a reset of the phone

    A reset or a power cycle?
  • Reply 11 of 53
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,800member
    If they allowed Skype, Tango, and other video chat apps, then they really had no good reason not to allow facetime as well.
  • Reply 12 of 53
    On my ipad mini, it's a no go. I power cycled, but still nothing.
  • Reply 13 of 53

    I tried it as well.  It says that I can in the settings, but when I try it it says that I need a WiFi hotspot or a cellular data connection.  Very weird.  I am in Phoenix, AZ.

  • Reply 14 of 53
    Works for me, called my Wife just now via Cell data and it connected.

    She's on a 4S I'm on my 5
  • Reply 15 of 53

    Does not work for me - In Settings/Facetime when I click "Use Cellular Data" to on, I get a message that says it requires active WiFi or eligible cellular data plan (which I have an Unlimited Data Plan). To activate call 611 or visit the web.


    I tried power off/on several times with no luck.

  • Reply 16 of 53

    Didn't work for me either. I have restarted my phone but have not reset it. I'm on an factory unlocked 4S with an unlimited data plan.


    Scratch that. It seems to be working now after a second restart.

  • Reply 17 of 53
    shogunshogun Posts: 362member
    Good effing riddance AT&T. I dropped you last Friday just like I said I would on this and other forums, and when talking to two of your managers. You treated me like I was your slave, so don't be shocked by rebellion. I don't expect to look back.

    Btw, it was a hard decision. I gave you every chance to treat me like a valued customer. But after five years and how many thousands of dollars paid you... Forget it. Have fun. I'm outtie.
  • Reply 18 of 53

    In Massachusetts with a 4S on 6.0.1. Rebooted the phone twice and still can't flip on "Use Cellular Data"  in the FaceTime settings. Don't know if it's a function of also being on a Microcell at the house. I'll reboot when I'm on the proper AT&T network and try again.

  • Reply 19 of 53
    Works on unlimited data on iPhone 5 with AT&T. I had to restart my phone. LTE is super fast in Syrause NY
  • Reply 20 of 53
    Not working after powering off and rebooting.

    Nice to see if true but with the 5GB cap just one more thing to eat up the unlimited bandwidth are be restricted to edge speeds. At least they could leave us at 4G/3G. Not less than 1 MBPS.
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