Word came down this week that AT&T plans to allow subscribers to use FaceTime over their cellular data network when Apple releases iOS 6. However, users will be forced to change their data plans to do so. And it doesn't stop there - it has to be one of their Shared Data plans. If you are an individual subscriber, no FaceTime-over-cellular for you. Why? Because AT&T is terrified that their fragile network can't handle the traffic. Jim Dalrymple thinks so, too. But there's more...
FaceTime uses the data network, which means video calls are going to count against users' data allowance (whether that be 1 GB, 4 GB, etc.) Engadget figured out that it breaks down to about 3 MB per minute.
But what about a FaceTime call between two family members on the required Shared Data plan? Presumably, the data allotment would disappear twice as fast, at the effective rate of 6 MB per minute. (Since both users are using the same pool of data)
In reality, I very rarely use FaceTime, but when I do it's usually with close family members. Other iPhone users I've spoken to say the same thing: They use FaceTime with their close family members.
Talk about a move motivated by fear and greed simultaneously. AT&T doesn't want their subscribers to use their data network, so they block FaceTime. But, aware of a demographic that wants to use the feature (that demographic being close families), they make it available to users on Shared Data plans. Then AT&T has the opportunity to charge the same account for both sides of the FaceTime conversation, draining the data pool that much quicker.
That's a d*ck move, AT&T.
iPhone users should also note that Sprint will not charge for FaceTime over cellular. Verizon has stayed quiet for the time being.