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AT&T cellular FaceTime limited to Mobile Share plans

updated 06:31 pm EDT, Fri August 17, 2012

FaceTime over Wi-Fi still available

AT&T announced today that only customers paying for one of its Mobile Share plans will be able to use Apple's FaceTime feature over a cellular connection. The carrier touts FaceTime as "an added benefit" of its new data plans, and users with individual or family plans will have to rely on Wi-Fi connections in order to make use of the video call feature. Previously, the carrier had indicated that AT&T might charge customers extra if they wanted to use the feature over 3G.

AT&T's mobile sharing plans range from $40 for 1GB to $200 for 20GB as a baseline cost. Pricing for the plans increases as customers add more devices. Adding smartphones will add $30 to $45 to a plan, depending on the data option chosen, while feature phones add another $30. Laptops, mobile hotspots, and netbooks add $20 each, while tablets and gaming devices add another $10.

Not all national carriers have committed to similar policies for FaceTime. Sprint last month committed to no additional charges for 3G FaceTime access. The FaceTime feature, when it debuted, was Wi-Fi only, but Apple and carriers have since added cellular connectivity to the service. The addition of the cellular option represented a challenge for AT&T and Verizon, both of which have been trying to steer users toward their capped data plans. Verizon, however, is said to be unable to hinder FaceTime over cellular as a result of a Net Neutrality promise the carrier has made with the FCC. [via 9to5Mac]




by MacNN Staff

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  1. daqman

    Junior Member

    Joined: 09-15-00

    Oh great. The Mobile Ripoff plans all cost me more than I'm already paying and give me less. This Linking of Facetime to the Mobile Ripoff plan is just plain annoying. If I'm PAYING for the bandwidth why can't I CHOOSE what I want to use the bandwidth for? When my year old iPhone 4 wears out I'm ditching AT&T!

  1. cvbcvb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-03-03

    Originally Posted by NewsPosterView Post

    Verizon, however, is said to be unable to hinder FaceTime over cellular as a result of a Net Neutrality promise the carrier has made with the FCC.



    Why hasn’t AT&T been enjoined to a similar “Net Neutrality” promise?

  1. msteffer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-10-10

    Absolutely total BS! AT&T is completely abusing it's power by limiting this service. I imagine they'll say because it's an inherent feature of iOS 6, that they can choose to limit its functionality because it's on their network. How does this differ from Skype, Netflix, or any of the many other data heavy video streaming apps already in use over 3G? It's despicable the way AT&T treats its customers. Why do they care how I use MY data that I paid for? It's to their advantage to let me blow through my data limits and get charged overage fees for using too much FaceTime over cellular. Clearly, they want to push people away from the grandfathered unlimited plans to a more lucritive "shared data" plan.

  1. cmoney

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 09-19-00

    Verizon had to because of their agreement they had to sign in order to get the spectrum for LTE. It's also what forced them to allow Google wallet to work on Android devices. AT&T currently blocks those right now as well.

  1. Higherself

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-17-12


    • Do the words greedy, abusive, ridiculous and time to switch carriers come to mind?


  1. chefpastry

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 11-14-05

    They want to sell you the plans but don't want you to use it. What kind of bs is that???

  1. OkieDoc

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-07-01

    Re: Grandfathered plans

    I could never figure out why they can't just axe grandfathered plans altogether? I mean, once your contract has run out, can't they do anything they want?

    Guess I'll just have to keep my Jailbroken iPhone at iOS5 to keep My3G and 3G FaceTime

  1. lamewing

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 08-04-04

    Originally Posted by OkieDocView Post

    Re: Grandfathered plans

    I could never figure out why they can't just axe grandfathered plans altogether? I mean, once your contract has run out, can't they do anything they want?

    Guess I'll just have to keep my Jailbroken iPhone at iOS5 to keep My3G and 3G FaceTime



    It's in the contract. AT&T could axe the plan tomorrow, but they would have to cancel EVERY grandfathered contract as well. That means there would be a ton of angry AT&T customers who are not longer in a contract, many of who would likely switch out of spite; I know I would. Of course, when my contract is up I am leaving AT&T anyway. The facetime nonsense was the final straw. My grandfathered "unlimited" plan is throttled to EDGE speeds at 3GB of use, so why can't I use facetime? After 3GB of use, my monthly internet usage would be worthless anyway. This is nothing but a plan to force people into the new shared plan nonsense - ie. a frakin' money grab at the expense of the customers.

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    Originally Posted by lamewingView Post


    It's in the contract. AT&T could axe the plan tomorrow, but they would have to cancel EVERY grandfathered contract as well. That means there would be a ton of angry AT&T customers who are not longer in a contract, many of who would likely switch out of spite; I know I would. Of course, when my contract is up I am leaving AT&T anyway. The facetime nonsense was the final straw. My grandfathered "unlimited" plan is throttled to EDGE speeds at 3GB of use, so why can't I use facetime? After 3GB of use, my monthly internet usage would be worthless anyway. This is nothing but a plan to force people into the new shared plan nonsense - ie. a frakin' money grab at the expense of the customers.

    That's what you get for buying a device that lets the companies in charge take control of you. I bet you will buy the iPhone 5 and cry about it too. Don't expect the control to go away with a new release, it only gets worse. Apple is onboard for control, look at how they integrated the "Software Updates" into the crApp Store. Pretty soon, once they have complete control of the mac user base, they will open up the license to PCs, thinking the money will pour in and hog tie any dummies that fall into the trap. As for ATT.... if there were any smarts in the purchase, you should always purchase your multi-carrier compatible phone in full then CHOOSE the service you want. If you can't buy your phone in FULL, then you CANNOT AFFORD IT to begin with. Simple

  1. Wiskedjak

    Posting Junkie

    Joined: 06-04-02

    Originally Posted by blahblahbberView Post

    That's what you get for buying a device that lets the companies in charge take control of you.


    As opposed to Android? Android gives the carriers *even more* control over you ... until you Root it, which is really no different from Jailbreaking.

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    Originally Posted by WiskedjakView Post


    As opposed to Android? Android gives the carriers *even more* control over you ... until you Root it, which is really no different from Jailbreaking.

    At least the companies that create the android phones help out the community by unlocking the device for rooting.

  1. Cold Warrior

    Moderator

    Joined: 01-01-01

    I'm sure someone has run the numbers and it makes sense to AT&T, but I just don't see it. Verizon's coverage is superior in every way, and their LTE footprint is already quite large. Plus they will unlock their iPhones for overseas gsm usage. The only thing AT&T offers is faster 3G – which from my experience is mostly theoretical and rarely over a broad area with a consistent experience.

    They know all this, so I can only gather that they really want to shed iPhone customers and keep the dumbest ones who will pay more for worse service, qualitatively and quantitatively.

  1. shifuimam

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 08-15-06

    This is an interesting turn of the tables.

    AT&T owns enormous swaths of the landline telecom infrastructure (phones and DSL) in the US, and as a result the FCC scrutinizes that division of the business very heavily, which has benefited customers by requiring things like affordable dry loop DSL. Verizon, on the other hand, has a fraction of the landline customers AT&T has, and as a result can get away with absolutely ridiculous rates on DSL and home phone service ($40/mo with a one year contract for speeds worse than what I get with Cox? Say what?).

    On the other hand, Verizon has a huge customer base compared to AT&T in the cellular market, and as a result they are more heavily scrutinized by the FCC, which benefits customers with things like preventing them from throttling or preventing certain services on their data network.

    I'd rather see the FCC look at all the large providers through the same microscope and require the same of all, which would keep the market far more level. But that's just me.

  1. Wiskedjak

    Posting Junkie

    Joined: 06-04-02

    Originally Posted by blahblahbberView Post

    At least the companies that create the android phones help out the community by unlocking the device for rooting.


    That doesn't always work. Sony provides an unlock tool for the Xperias, but my carrier won't allow the phone to *be* unlocked, meaning I have to pay some guy $25 to do it. This is really no more open than iOS.

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    Originally Posted by WiskedjakView Post


    That doesn't always work. Sony provides an unlock tool for the Xperias, but my carrier won't allow the phone to *be* unlocked, meaning I have to pay some guy $25 to do it. This is really no more open than iOS.

    Yup, ur right not all phones get the same treatment. But then, it is up to the person to buy smarter and buy something open, meaning not carrier specific. You have a choice, just pay for what you can afford to... or get your feet wet and start tinkering.

  1. OreoCookie

    Moderator

    Joined: 05-25-01

    Originally Posted by blahblahbberView Post

    Yup, ur right not all phones get the same treatment. But then, it is up to the person to buy smarter and buy something open, meaning not carrier specific. You have a choice, just pay for what you can afford to... or get your feet wet and start tinkering.


    Yeah, but that doesn't have anything to do with »open« anymore. Android isn't open for consumers, it's open for cell phone carriers and handset manufacturers. Meaning that in most carrier-manufacturer combinations, Android devices cannot be upgraded to newer versions, and if there are updates, they are substantially delayed compared to the release of that particular version of Android. (For instance, 2~4 weeks ago, a friend of mine got her update to 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for her Xperia, a mere ten months after the official release.)

    Of course, savvy people (≠ smart, many people are smart in other fields, but their area of expertise/interest does not include computers) know how to root their phones or know which model to get, but that doesn't mean the Android OS is open.

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    Originally Posted by OreoCookieView Post


    Yeah, but that doesn't have anything to do with »open« anymore. Android isn't open for consumers, it's open for cell phone carriers and handset manufacturers. Meaning that in most carrier-manufacturer combinations, Android devices cannot be upgraded to newer versions, and if there are updates, they are substantially delayed compared to the release of that particular version of Android. (For instance, 2~4 weeks ago, a friend of mine got her update to 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for her Xperia, a mere ten months after the official release.)
    Of course, savvy people (≠ smart, many people are smart in other fields, but their area of expertise/interest does not include computers) know how to root their phones or know which model to get, but that doesn't mean the Android OS is open.

    I guess i need to clear this up for u; when i say open, i mean non carrier specific e.g. International version or North American Version. Upgrades, updates... those are not part of any points i make, but I will say this: If the update is not ready, then let them continue working it out. Thank Sony for putting reliability first rather than just the "update". Eventually newer Android phones will all get worked out.

  1. TylerDurden

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-18-01



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