AT&T has finally moved the last inch on its initially terrible FaceTime stance for iPhone owners. It will now allow FaceTime over cellular connections for any tiered data plan user, reports MacRumors.
The announcement was made by AT&T’s Mark Collins who says that “we wanted to roll it out gradually to ensure the service had minimal impact on the mobile experience for all of our customers,” adding that, “as a result of ongoing testing, we’re announcing AT&T will enable FaceTime over Cellular at no extra charge for customers with any tiered data plan using a compatible iOS device.”
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FaceTime over cellular connections were previously available to LTE customers on tiered plans and Mobile Share Plan users only. This left out iPhone 4S users on 3G connections. Now, the ability is live for almost everyone. Alas, grandfathered-in unlimited data customers are out of luck, as only tiered plans are eligible.
When AT&T made the first shift in its FaceTime over cellular policies, it allowed LTE customers such as iPhone 5 and LTE iPad users to use FaceTime over cellular.
At the time, AT&T’s Jim Cicconi blamed the slow rollout on concerns about network performance under the increased load from FaceTime over cellular conversations. But advocacy group Public Knowledge said that the reversal had more to do with threats of litigation than a desire to properly serve customers.
“AT&T cannot block FaceTime based on claims of potential congestion. There’s nothing even remotely reasonable about that approach,” said Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood. He said that offering FaceTime to all of its customers would be the only way to avoid violating FCC and Net Neutrality rules.
Now, AT&T has expanded its offerings and allows all current plans to use FaceTime over cellular, so it’s most likely safe.