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]