AT&T could be getting ready to charge you extra for using FaceTime over cellular when iOS 6 is launched. At WWDC back in June, Apple SVP of iOS, Scott Forstall, announced one of the major new features of iOS 6 would be FaceTime over cellular. It was unclear at the time if carriers would actually support the service or if they would charge extra for it. 9to5 Mac and MacRumors have independently discovered what looks to be AT&T’s preparations to go the paid route.
In both cases, when trying to enable FaceTime over cellular on an AT&T iPhone running the latest iOS 6 Beta 3, a pop up appeared asking them to call 611 to activate the service. This is similar to what happens when Tethering is activated without an AT&T tethering plan. 9to5Mac notes:
We attempted to bring up the same same error message when enabling the FaceTime over Cellular feature on a Verizon iPad WiFi + Cellular, but the feature enabled without an issue. AT&T charges for a separate plan to use Personal Hotspot on its network, and the carrier appears set to replicate that process with FaceTime over Cellular.
To replicate the process of receiving the above error message, you need to restore your network settings. It is also appearing for some people who have restored to iOS 6 beta 3.
The popup so far has not been found on networks other than AT&T, either in the U.S. or internationally.
Of course we must remember that this is still a beta version of iOS 6 and things will change in the weeks before the launch of the final version. AT&T may have a change of heart and decide to allow FaceTime calls over its network without charging you any extra monthly fees. Having said that, FaceTime would consume a hefty amount of data for each call so it wouldn’t be any great surprise if AT&T saw additional fees as a way to reduce network load, something that has historically been a problem for them.
The question is, would you be willing to pay extra to access FaceTime over cellular data? Or is it long past time AT&T let you use the data you already paid for?
Updates: A Sprint spokeswoman has told The Wall Street Journal, that:
We are committed to our unlimited data and that means not charging for data consumption based on the application
Verizon declined comment.
Source: 9to5 Mac