AT&T has announced that they will no longer charge for FaceTime over a cellular connection, assuming you are using an LTE-enabled device. Previously, the second largest U.S. carrier only made the service available for free when tied to one of the company’s Mobile Share plans.
In making the news, AT&T says the following:
DALLAS, Nov. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – AT&T* today announced it will enable FaceTime over Cellular at no extra charge for iOS 6 customers with an LTE device on any tiered data plan. AT&T will also continue to offer FaceTime over Cellular to customers with any AT&T Mobile Share plan, as well as FaceTime over Wi-Fi, which has always been available for all customers. AT&T expects to roll out this functionality to customers over the next eight to ten weeks.
As part of its commitment to serving customers with disabilities, AT&T is also making FaceTime over Cellular available to deaf and hard of hearing customers who qualify for special text and data-only packages.
AT&T has more iPhone customers than any other U.S. carrier.
This is terrific news, especially given that Verizon and Sprint have never charged for FaceTime over cellular, which first arrived with iOS 6. Still, taking eight to 10 weeks to do so sounds a little bit long, don’t you think?
Our friends at 9to5Mac were the first to report this news.
Updated: There seems to be much confusion as to which customers will be able to utilize “free” FaceTime with Cellular through AT&T.
According to AllThingsD:
Under the move announced Thursday, iPhone 5 and LTE-equipped iPad customers on any of AT&T’s metered data plans will also be able to use the video chat service, though it will take eight to 10 weeks for all such customers to gain access.
This would suggest AT&T will allow access to owners of the iPhone 5, iPad 3, and iPad 4.
Further, they explain:
Customers on unlimited plans or with older iPhones still aren’t being promised access, though AT&T said it “will continue to gather and assess the network data on this issue over the next few months and anticipate that we will be able to expand the availability of FaceTime to our customers on other billing plans in the near future.”
Note: emphasis is mine.