AT&T Gives FaceTime Over Cellular Back To Everyone Except Those With Grandfathered Unlimited Data

Five years on, the iPhone's still got it.

AT&T has been dancing around its FaceTime restrictions for several months now. Before iOS 6 even went public, it was discovered that the carrier would block FaceTime calls over a cellular connection at its own discretion. AT&T later confirmed that users would have to be on one of its new shared data plans.

Public outcry caused AT&T to then backtrack and extend the feature to anyone with a tiered, traditional data plan and a LTE device. That still didn’t cut it. Now AT&T has updated its policy again, and subscribers with grandfathered unlimited data plans are the only ones still left out in the cold.

“When FaceTime over Cellular launched in September 2012, we explained that we wanted to roll it out gradually to ensure the service had minimal impact on the mobile experience for all of our customers,” said Mark Collins of AT&T. “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.”

So you don’t have to own an iPhone 5 or LTE-compatible iPad. Owners of non-LTE iOS devices with tiered plans can also make FaceTime calls over cellular no problem. Calls over WiFi of course work for everyone.

The feature is being rolled back out for AT&T subscribers who fall under the updated policy. AT&T notes that it will take a few weeks for everyone to gain access.

This is good news for a lot of AT&T iPhone owners, but it still means no FaceTime over cellular for those who have been around long enough to still have their unlimited plans—arguably AT&T’s most loyal customers.

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  • Jeff

    So ATT has decided to penalize their ‘best’ customers.. those of us who have been paying for unlimited data plans since 2007 but excluding us from FaceTime over Cellular? It’s not really even a feature that I want to use, but I think the choice by ATT is silly and pisses off their most loyal customers

  • kevin13769

    If that was me on an unlimited data plan, would be using it via iTether and caning there connection 24/7

  • Brandon Dillon

    AT&T is the most parasitic company I’ve ever seen. I’m so glad I left that terrible service. Keep sticking it to your loyal iPhone customers you sorry dogs, one day it will backfire.

  • Whodakat

    Go fuck yourself ATT! I’ll never give up my unlimited plan. Not til you pry it out of my cold dead fingers!

  • DrM47145

    Carriers can charge you for three basic services VOICE, TEXT MESSAGES and DATA.

    FaceTime is certainly not under TEXT MESSAGES. But it is not under VOICE , because it’s not VOICE. FaceTime clearly runs on DATA, because it consumes Mbps, and because if you have FaceTime over cellular, and you turn DATA OFF, FaceTime goes OFF.

    So, my question is: WTF! If I have UNLIMITED DATA, why are those AT&T bastards limiting my DATA???

    I say CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT!

  • Hondamaker

    ATT is still the douchebag of carriers. Some of us unlimited customers have been with them since the Cingular days. Why do we get screwed?

  • MrsCleaver

    Yep, pretty crappy of AT&T not to let those of us with unlimited data plans to use FaceTime over the air. As the author points out, we are among the oldest and most loyal users. Do they really think we’re going to be using FaceTime as much or more than anyone else? In my observations, FaceTime is used more by younger iPhone users, at least when out and about. Older folks (read: those who probably have the unlimited plans), are less likely to use FaceTime, and certainly not as often as others who are streaming movies and sports to their phones. But like most everything in life it is what it is, and AT&T calls the shots on this.

  • Brandon Dillon

    Carriers can charge you for three basic services VOICE, TEXT MESSAGES and DATA.

    FaceTime is certainly not under TEXT MESSAGES. But it is not under VOICE , because it’s not VOICE. FaceTime clearly runs on DATA, because it consumes Mbps, and because if you have FaceTime over cellular, and you turn DATA OFF, FaceTime goes OFF.

    So, my question is: WTF! If I have UNLIMITED DATA, why are those AT&T bastards limiting my DATA???

    I say CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT!

    I think something like this happened when FaceTime first came out. Not sure what happened with that.

  • RyanLochte14

    Love my job, since I’ve been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I’m making it online(Click on menu Home)
    http://goo.gl/Abm7p

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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