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FaceTime still blocked over 4G iPad connections

updated 09:50 am EDT, Thu March 15, 2012

Carriers likely to blame

Apple is continuing to limit FaceTime calls to Wi-Fi connections, even on 4G-equipped iPads, The Verge notes. Attempting a FaceTime call on 4G brings up the same error message Apple has used with 3G iPhones and iPads. "Connect to a Wi-Fi network to use FaceTime," a pop-up warns.

The potential quality of calls has sometimes been brought up as a reason for limiting FaceTime to Wi-Fi, but on a 4G connection the issue should be moot. LTE networks are capable of operating at a higher bandwidth than landline connections, often in excess of 20Mbps. Pressure from carriers may therefore be responsible for keeping the cellular restriction intact.

In 2010, then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs claimed that the company needed to "work a little bit with the cellular providers to get ready for the future, so we're Wi-Fi only in 2010." Carriers may be worried about the congestion video calls can create, and possibly diminished need for voice plans. At the same time though, apps like Skype can already operate over 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi.

by MacNN Staff



  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Blame "unlimited data"

    Bandwidth is not an unlimited resource. Carriers are fools to offer unlimited data when they know they can't provide it. If they charged properly, then they wouldn't have to insist on these restrictions.

    WiFi only makes FaceTime's purpose extremely limited. When I'm on 3G, I use Skype. And if I get myself, and and my family and friends using Skype, why not keep using it when I'm on Wifi?

  1. bleee

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Carriers don't want to compete with Apple for airtime minutes, they probably pressured Apple to only allow FaceTime on WiFi. Also why can't they just allow Audio so you can make voice calls with the bandwidth you already paid for.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    oh, really

    Never used facetime, so I guess I never cared when it worked. Its just attempt #562 to get video-phoning popular. So far no one has succeeded. There's probably reasons for that which aren't just technical.

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