AT&T has reversed its stance blocking FaceTime video chats over cell signals and will begin supporting that, along with all pre-loaded video chat apps, over LTE without any service plan restrictions before the end of the year. Currently, AT&T allows FaceTime video chats on its data network only for subscribers on shared family data plans.
AT&T finally says FaceTime over LTE is OK for everyone
The company said in a statement,
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.
For users that don't have unlimited data plans, they can expect to have FaceTime over cell network suport by the end of the year.
AT&T had previously prohibited not only Apple's FaceTime video chatting, but other video chat apps that shipped pre-loaded on smartphones, from working over its data network. The carrier eventually changed that policy to allow FaceTime over LTE connections, but only for family plan subscribers, which greatly limited the feature's usability.
Frustration over AT&T's policy led to threats of a Net Neutrality complaint from some users, although the company claimed it was well within its rights because FCC regulations don't prohibit limiting the functionality of pre-loaded apps.
AT&T's policy change comes as good news for iPhone 5 users that want to video chat when they aren't on a Wi-Fi network, and the move could help cut down on some customer frustration for the company, too.