Carriers Win Again: The New iPad Won’t Let You Use FaceTime Over 4G

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Poor Dieter Bohn from The Verge can't make a FaceTime call over 4G on his new iPad.
Poor Joshua Topolsky from The Verge can't make a FaceTime call over 4G on his new iPad.

The new iPad uses blazing fast LTE 4G networking to let you stream YouTube faster than you can say “Tim Cook’s your uncle,” but you still can’t use the tablet to make FaceTime calls over 4G or 3G. Calls fail to connect when the third-gen iPad isn’t connected to a WiFi network, just like they do on the iPhone.

iPhone users have been hammering for FaceTime over 3G since the video calling technology was introduced by Steve Jobs and Jony Ive back in 2010, but Apple has yet to flip the switch. Due to the data-heavy nature of video calls, the carriers are likely to blame.

Jailbreakers have been able to use FaceTime over 3G since 2010 (I’ve done it many times and it works great!), but the feature is still blocked for everyone else. The Verge notes that FaceTime calls are estimated to weigh in at about 3MB per minute. Think of the kind of strain that would be put on AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint if millions of people were suddenly calling each other over 3G and 4G. Not to mention the fact that data plans aren’t exactly forgiving to bandwidth hogs these days.

Before we ever see FaceTime over 3G and 4G, the carriers need to work something out with Apple. Perhaps the video stream quality could be lowered or a call could only last for a certain amount of time. Anything would be welcomed at this point.