AT&T has announced on its public policy blog that FaceTime over cellular will be available to iPhone and iPad users with several caveats. Users must have LTE versions of iPads and iPhones and must be on a tiered plan. Previously FaceTime on AT&T was only available for customers on mobile shared plans. However, the rollout is not immediate. AT&T expects it to take 8-10 weeks, which is unusually slow. The decision has come after much pressure from customers, public advocacy groups, and the media.
Still, AT&T's policy change is a half-hearted attempt as it doesn't fully cave in to demands. It omits a larger group of customer that are not on LTE from using FaceTime over cellular on 3G and "4G." Also, it continues its hostility toward customers of grandfathered unlimited data plans on any cellular mode. The FCC has warned that discriminatory practices on citizen owned spectrums will not be tolerated in accordance with net neutrality regulations. AT&T is cherry picking customers based on monetary gains and not necessarily reasons of management of network congestion.
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During this morning's iPhone 5 event, Apple announced that the iPhone 5 would support LTE, and the list of carriers is huge, spanning the globe. In the US, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon will all support the new iPhone LTE capabilities. Over in Canada, Bell, Rogers, Fido, Virgin Mobile, Telus, and Koodo are all ready for iPhone 5 LTE action. Where Europe is concerned, T-Mobile and the new EE network in the UK are on board. Asia will see Softbank, SKT, KDDI, KT, SmarTone, and SingTei all offering iPhone 5 LTE connectivity. All that said, get ready for much, much faster LTE data if you happen to live in an LTE-supported area, and watch your data caps!
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A few days ago, The Wall Street Journal reported that the next iPhone will have at least a 4-inch display, and the next day Reuters independently reported the same. Yesterday, Bloomberg jumped in with the same report, so it looks like it's a lock. In addition, Bloomberg is also reporting that Steve Jobs "worked closely on the redesigned phone before his death in October."
Interestingly enough, it was Steve Jobs himself who said that no one wants to buy a big phone. Of course, as we've seen with plenty of 4G LTE Android devices, larger smartphones are everywhere. Of course, Apple has some room on the current iPhone form factor to enlarge the display without changing the size of the phone itself too much. Maybe Steve was right--rather than making a big phone, Apple can just make a big display while keeping the device itself relatively the same size.
In an interview with Reuters, Verizon Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said his company's version of the next Apple iPhone, the so-called "iPhone 5," will be a global phone, working in the same countries as the AT&T model.
That would mean the Verizon iPhone 5 would be able to make calls on both CDMA and GSM networks. The device would still be native to Verizon's network, using GSM only when roaming. The AT&T version might also have both radios, though it would only need GSM to be considered a global phone.
The current Verizon iPhone 4 is CDMA-only, so it doesn't work in countries where there are only GSM networks, which includes most of Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia. The AT&T version works on most GSM networks, which are much more common.
Shammo also said Verizon would be able to launch the iPhone 5 at the same time as AT&T, all but confirming a simultaneous launch on both carriers.