AT&T will finally be lifting its almost 3-year ban on FaceTime (and other pre-installed video chat services like Google Hangouts on ANdroid) for its customers on grandfathered unlimited data plans. Over time, AT&T has made stock video chat apps available on its cellular network only to customers on tiered data plans, or its newer Mobile Share plans, while unlimited users looked on in disappointment. That all changes starting next month, when customers with LTE devices get access to pre-installed video chat services:
For video chat apps that come pre-loaded on devices, we currently give all OS and device makers the ability for those apps to work over cellular for our customers who are on Mobile Share or Tiered plans. Apple, Samsung and BlackBerry have chosen to enable this for their pre-loaded video chat apps. And by mid-June, we’ll have enabled those apps over cellular for our unlimited plan customers who have LTE devices from those three manufacturers.
So if you've got an iPhone 5, you're in luck. If you are on an older iPhone 4S or iPhone 4, you have a bit more of a wait ahead of you. In fact, it appears that even if you have a current LTE device that isn't made by Apple, BlackBerry, or Samsung, you've got a wait ahead of you. Recent buyer of the awesome HTC One? Sorry:
Throughout the second half of this year, we plan to enable pre-loaded video chat apps over cellular for all our customers, regardless of data plan or device; that work is expected to be complete by year end.
We've been getting reports that some AT&T customers with unlimited plans and LTE devices are already seeing FaceTime over Cellular enabled.
Read More | The Verge
AT&T stopped offering unlimited data plans for its cell phone customers long ago, but allowed those who already subscribed to such a plan to be grandfathered in. However, recently it's become very obvious that, grandfathered in or not, AT&T wants you off of the unlimited plan, and that they'd annoy you with slow data speeds in an effort to nudge you towards a tiered plan. Some users were seeing their speeds throttled down after using just 2 GB of data on their "unlimited" plans. After enough people complained, and enough press covered it, AT&T has finally decided upon what the throttling rules will be for unlimited data customers. If you have a smartphone that works on our 3G or 4G network and still have an unlimited data plan:
- You'll receive a text message when your usage approaches 3 GB in one billing cycle.
- Each time you use 3 GB or more in a billing cycle, your data speeds will be reduced for the rest of that billing cycle and then go back to normal.
- The next time you exceed that usage level, your speeds will be reduced without another text message reminder.
- If you have a 4G LTE smartphone and still have an unlimited data plan, the same process applies at 5 GB of data usage, instead of 3 GB.
So, there you have it. If you have an unlimited 3G data plan, then you can use up to 3 GB of data in a given billing cycle before your speeds are throttled down to super-slow for the remainder of the cycle. Once a new cycle begins, the process starts again. As for you unlimited 4G LTE AT&T customers, you get 5 GB instead of 3 GB. Kind of horrible, since 4G LTE is supposed to let you get faster data speeds and all the advertisements around it show customers using it to stream movies and TV shows, and yet AT&T is saying if you do that a couple of times, then for the rest of the month your data speeds will be nowhere near what 4G LTE is advertised as.