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.

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21 responses to “Carriers Win Again: The New iPad Won’t Let You Use FaceTime Over 4G”

  1. Gary Reed says:

    Not surprising!  FaceTime over the carrier’s network is crap and over priced. While FaceTime over WifI is great. 

  2. DieterBohn says:

    Just a quick note. That’s Joshua Topolsky in the picture, not Dieter :)

  3. JoshObra says:

    These carriers need to do something about this… what’s the point of having a Porche with only 1/10th tank of gas speeding down an airstrip.

    Customer satisfaction should come first, not bags of money.

    At the rate we’re going, it’ll probably be a decade or two until we live in a world where we don’t have to worry about cellphone data limitations.

    Luckily there are services like CLEAR which is something I’d love to have for the same price I would have to pay to tether from my iPhone plus my current ISP combined. At least I don’t ever have to worry about overages or throttling.

  4. tornacious says:

    My NiP (New iPad) will be jailbroken on Friday afternoon and I’ll be facetiming over 4G early and often. Suck it, AT&T, suck it hard!

  5. Mike Shyu says:

    No big deal, don’t really use facetime much after the initial “neatness” of it.  iMessage on the other hand is indispensable.  

  6. Bob Roebling says:

    With the new messages beta for OS X, I find myself using it all the time.

  7. Luis Dominguez says:

    is there even a jailbreak available for you to give it to AT&T?

  8. JoshObra says:

    I’m liking your abbreviation for the new iPad.

  9. alexheath says:

    Sorry about that, Dieter! Late night typing got the best of me. :)

  10. John Howell says:

    Luckily there’s skype. I have almost never made a FaceTime call for the following reasons:
    1 no one I would make a video call to own an iPhone 4 or a Mac. Those who have an iPad would have to let me know when they are on wifi. I’ve only ever used it once to call home to say good night to the kids when I was on business, and still had a few minutes of hotel wifi left after finishing up my paperwork. But I usually have to call first or arrange a time. That’s just dumb. Skype works everywhere.

  11. Ed_Kel says:

    I feel they aren’t allowing FaceTime over cellular data for the same reason why in dash DVD players require the vehicle’s parking brake on, not to mention spotty reception… Think about it.

  12. EM says:

    Just use the Tango app. It let’s you facetime with anyone that also has the app over 3G and it’s free.

  13. uabtodd says:

    “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 ” You do know that video calling has been around since 2003, right?  Apple didn’t invent the technology, they just acted like they did.

  14. techgeek01 says:

    Skype anyone…..? 

  15. Jdsonice says:

    Skype works fine over 3G – use it on my iPhone all the time. :-) Thank god for that unlimited data plan I got grandfathered into :-)

  16. SupaMac says:

    good luck jailbeaking, when there’s no jailbreak available yet for a5 processors for iOS 5.1

  17. Dawn Waters says:

    that’s odd – i have a 2nd gen iPad and I carry a Verizon 4G mobile hotspot and i do facetime all over the place –

  18. Ricardo Morgado Ferreira says:

    Apple keynote speech, June 7, WWDC 2010, pea brain. “… and we’re bringing videocalling to the world and we’re calling it FACETIME. It’s going to change the way we communicate… forever” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  19. Brandon Dillon says:

    No no no. Don’t let “FaceTime” become another “let’s call every mp3 player an iPod” thing.

    Also, I agree. Tango is pretty decent for video calling. The audio quality is unsatisfactory to me though.

  20. Brandon Dillon says:

    No no no. Don’t let “FaceTime” become another “let’s call every mp3 player an iPod” thing.

    Also, I agree. Tango is pretty decent for video calling. The audio quality is unsatisfactory to me though.

  21. Brandon Dillon says:

    You can tether your iPhone’s data connection to FaceTime (what I do when my iPhone isn’t jailbroken)

    Or you can jailbreak, and get an app like 3G unrestrictor that let’s you FaceTime/update apps of any size over 3G. I believe the new iPad will get jailbroken at record speeds this time around, and this will be one of the first things that the devs update, the 3G unrestricting apps and free tethering.

    Also in regards to quality, my iPhone is with Verizon, and the 3G FaceTime quality is almost as good as my wifi connection at home (10-25mbps down and 3-6mbps up).

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