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
The fine folks over at FreePress are asking the public to take action in an attempt to convince AT&T to reconsiders its position on blocking iOS 6 feature FaceTime over Cellular for all customers unless they switch to a Mobile Share plan. It's an obvious money-grab, a way to encourage its unlimited data users to leave those plans behind, and it shows preferential treatment on how users can use their own data plans. We're signing, and we encourage you to do the same. According to Public Knowledge:
“By blocking FaceTime for many of its customers, AT&T is violating the FCC’s Open Internet rules. These rules state that mobile providers shall not ‘block applications that compete with the provider’s voice or video telephony services.’ Although carriers are permitted to engage in ‘reasonable network management,’ there is no technical reason why one data plan should be able to access FaceTime, and another not. ‘Over-the-top’ communications services like FaceTime are a threat to carriers’ revenue, but they should respond by competing with these services and not by engaging in discriminatory behavior.”
Read More | FreePress
Mobile carriers in the U.S. are finally jumping on board with shared data plans, allowing customers with multiple devices to draw from the same data bucket. Unfortunately, for most of these, it's a horrible deal financially. Still, there are some who'd appreciate this kind of thing, and as such we want to let you know that AT&T will be launching it's shared data plans beginning on August 23rd. You can set up all your devices like smartphones, tablets, gaming devices (like the Playstation Vita,) mobile hotspots, and more to all draw from one bucket of data beginning on that date. AT&T has set up a page where you can calculate what it would cost to add all your devices to a single plan.
Read More | AT&T