AT&T will require you to be on a Mobile Share plan to use FaceTime over cellular

AT&T will require you to be on a Mobile Share plan to use FaceTime over cellular

iOS 6 will allow users to use FaceTime over the cellular network as opposed to just Wi-Fi. AT&T has released a statement saying they will not charge extra for the FaceTime over cellular feature but you'll need to be on one of their new Mobile Share plans in order to have access to it.

AT&T has declined to comment on initial reports that they may charge extra for FaceTime over cellular, until today:

AT&T will offer FaceTime over Cellular as an added benefit of our new Mobile Share data plans, which were created to meet customers’ growing data needs at a great value. With Mobile Share, the more data you use, the more you save. FaceTime will continue to be available over Wi-Fi for all our customers.

Some users on the iOS 6 beta were reportedly receiving a message when trying to enable the feature that said they'd need to call in to activate the service. This lead to speculation that wireless carriers may indeed charge extra or not allow it at all.

Sprint has already said publicly that they will not charge extra for the feature and Verizon has declined to comment yet. There's no doubt that FaceTime over cellular will use an incredible amount of data and it's reasonable to assume carriers may be concerned with that.

AT&T's solution seems to be to force customers onto new Mobile Share plans that may or may not be right for them. Considering carriers have already migrated to capped data plans, it would make more sense to allow it only any plan except grandfathered unlimited ones and just charge overages when someone exceeds their limit, Mobile Share plan or not.

If you're currently on AT&T does FaceTime over cellular provide enough incentive for you to switch to a Mobile Share plan or will you just go without?

Source: MacRumors

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 38 comments. Add yours.

frankj64155 says:

I will not switch my current unlimited plan to use FaceTime.

TosaDeac says:

Has it been clarified how using your iPhone as a Hot Spot will be billed with the new Mobile Share plan? that would be the only reason I would switch from by granfathered unlimited plan.

tail24 says:

Original release says free hotspots with a bucket share plan

scottae316 says:

No, I will not switch. I have one unlimited line and one that is not. I get free mobile to mobile on any network so why would I. I can talk to someone without looking at them.

Munale says:

this makes 0 sense unless you look at it from the perspective of ATT finding ways to force users into overpriced plans

Iocane Powder says:

Agreed. As if the tax breaks and government subsidies are not enough, they need to slice data 15 different ways depending on how you use it in order to make more profit. Why is there no public outrage at the US not even making the top 10 in world bandwidth, yet we have some of the highest prices? ATT/Verizon only have their advantage through government support...if you are republican then that means socialism. We have repeatedly subsidized private businesses with increasing profits and yet only incremental gains for the consumers and no control or influence over how those subsidized services fit into a national plan for long-term improvement and growth.

And once again ATT sees how you use the data you pay for as their property. It is like selling water for $1/gallon for use in the yard, but $5/gallon if you plan on drinking it. If the masses ever start using water for bathing or swimming then ATT will invent a new pricing scheme for that as well. I don't know what is more absurd, wireless and internet pricing or the throngs of politicians and consumers that believe the twisted corporate rationales.

Considering that data is now as important to commerce, health, education and national security as power, water and roads, we should either set and enforce higher standards for throughput, quality and access or remove the backbone from the hands of profit driven, corporate interests. A corporation does not, has not and will not consider the best interests of the nation before its own profits.....that is not its purpose.

The technology and resources exist to make the system 10 times better than it currently is. But the squabbles over market shares and near term profits to support stock prices for the short sighted, Board of Directors and CEOs leave US data speeds 26th in the world. A private corporation did not rally the nation to go to the moon, it was a government initiative. Corporations only rally people to buy their version of their product. We should leave mayonnaise to the private sector and infrastructure to the government. Why do so many people believe that market forces should determine price, quality, quantity and access for communications, health, education and infrastructure? What is most cost effective and profitable for an individual business is not always in the best interests of the consumer, city, state or nation.

Guacho says:

not going to switch plans and I dont use facetime that much but this total BS.....

GlennRuss says:

"With mobile share, the more data you use, the more you save." That sounds like a trick to get you to change to a higher data plan. I have 2G now, and never come even close to it monthly. Just sounds fishy. On one side they get on to you for getting too close to your data cap, and will throttle you back. Now they are saying use more data, don't worry, you will save a bunch.

smittyofdhs says:

Total BS. The new plans end up costing you more unless you have 4+ phones already. For 2 iPhones, w/ 2GB plans, I'm at 124, the "new lower priced" plan would be 170. AT&T is just trying to gouge the people who made them who they are. It may be the time to switch to Verzion.

eprisencc says:

You may want to rethink that whole verizon thing . . . they are no better. They are all part of a pricing cartel so there is not really much anyone can do if they want an iPhone.

smittyofdhs says:

so true, it makes it hard to decide. I know I can deal without FaceTime over cellular, it's not worth the $50 a month.

mdntblu says:

You also have to remember that you get unlimited talk/text with this new plans which you don't with your current plans. You are correct you have to have 4+ phones already to make it worth your while. I have 5 phones on my account right now and some of them only have the 200mb data so switching to the mobile share 6gb is actually cheaper and we get unlimited talk/text and mobile hotspot turned on. I am still trying to decide if I should switch. Verizon shared plans are not any cheaper. Actually more expensive when I used their calculator thing.

Gsarfin says:

I used FaceTime once since its introduction. I have grandfathered unlimited plan from AT&T. I will NOT switch for FaceTime, or any reason unless new plans get CHEAPER UNLIMITED UNTHROTTLED data!
I have Skype and 1 line anyway. No need for this BS!

USAFRetired says:

I too used Facetime once since it first came out and haven't used it since. This makes just gives me more of a reason not to upgrade my iphone 4 and put a noose (ATT) around my neck for another two years. I also think ATT will force everyone out of the unlimited plans if you get the new iphone. I'll keep my unlimited plan for now.

evilsofa says:

HUMMM... Change to Mobile Share plan will cost me a significant amount of money compared to what I spend today... AT&T HOW IS THIS NOT CHARGING FOR ME TO USE FACETIME... Were not stupid users.

asuperstarr says:

No, I will not change my mobile plan. It's just me. MAYBE I NEED TO CHANGE CARRIERS INSTEAD. AT&T hasn't done anything for me as customer but come up with more ways to get more money. What ever happened to providing customer with a great user experience and service?

cardfan says:

Switching to verizon so i don't care. But this is another reason why. AT&T can stick it.

StevenJ_AK says:

I have a strong feeling big red will follow suit.

StevenJ_AK says:

I have been torn to switch but it so hard to figure out how much I will pay. Right now I pay 220 a month for three iPhones with a 15% discount.
Main iPhone (mine) has 5gb data pro that I usually use about 3.5-4.5 gbs of
My wife's is also 5gb data pro and she uses about 3-3.5 gb
My daughter has 2gb and she uses 500mb-1.25 gb a month.
We are very data heavy so could the mobile share work for me? I don't know, it's hard to say, but I would like to use FaceTime over the towers if the quality is better than Skype. If not, I can't see it being all that great.

Crakka says:

Like everyone here I too am grandfathered on unlimited data plan.... And I think everyone doesn't realize that this is the year the unlimited data goes away. Since a new iPhone will be 4G LTE not 3G. There's no way theyll let us have unlimited data on a 4G LTE network.

west3man says:

I dunno. They did with the iPad.

I was shocked, but they did it.

JohnPA2006 says:

Wow I thought Verizon couldnt be out scummed with those kind of plans, looks like AT&T did one worse. People will not put up with this, I have a feeling AT&T will withdraw this plan, customer revolt will happen if they dont listen. They have to know this is is a bad idea.

chris.lenderman says:

"AT&T will offer FaceTime over Cellular as an added benefit of our new Mobile Share data plans...." Wait, since when has being able to use the data you paid for on your device (we're not talking about tethering here folks) an "added benefit"? How is this even legal? This sound simliar to that anti-open internet thing Verizon was trying to push through on the broadband side.

Is ATT going to start limiting your access to Facebook unless you upgrade to a "premier" plan?

Dark_Blu says:

If you're single, unmarried, and don't feel like just adding someone else to your phone bill, what's the point of having a "share plan"? I bounced from AT&T a while back and I'm glad.

StevenJ_AK says:

Now that I look at it mobile share would save me a ton.

I could get UNLIMETED talk text and 10gb share for what, $180??

That's 40 bucks less than what I pay now and I'm only on the 700 min family talk! Not so bad in my eyes

GreenDize12 says:

I think Shared plans are for those who have a Family plan and have other devices on separate prepaid plans. Honestly, because of the 3 iPhones (that only used 750MB together) and 2 iPads in my home (that used between 4-5GB together), the shared plans will actually save me $$$ in the long run.

But back on topic, my purpose of getting shared data is not for FaceTime, but for the iPads. So yeah, AT&T is messed up on that one. Especially to those with individual plans and only use one iOS device. I only use FaceTime on WiFi and only for talking to friends I don't really see often. Can you say My3G???

Macboy74 says:

I love when people say their leaving and going to verizon. Believe me it's not much better on this side of the fence people. Lol their just as bad as AT&T if not worse sometimes. We pay just as much and Verizon's network isn't as great as it was. I have an iPhone and a SGSIII and I sometimes have drop calls, no service at all and have had a couple LTE outages. Not good.

mikehuntertz says:

Everyone still on "unlimited" data plans needs to check their data on the first day of their billing cycle especially if you were throttled the previous billing cycle. A month ago AT&T carried over 1.5GB to my new billing cycle. Not only was that data used on a previous billing cycle, it was at throttled speeds??? I spent well over 10hrs. on the phone with them but they did nothing & claimed that data usage may take up to 60 days to get reported. This of course is an irrelevant argument (what matters is when it was used). They admitted fault but did nothing. This month they did it again. It was much less data but it was data from the previous cycle, & once again, this was data at throttled speeds being added to my new 3GB allowance before getting throttled for this cycle. I've contacted the[1] Better business bureau (https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started) & the [2] FCC (https://esupport.fcc.gov/ccmsforms/form2000.action?form_type=2000B) & currently have claims pending with them both. I encourage everyone to do the same. Here is the address for the [3] FTC (https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/).
Edit: Here is the website so you can [4] contact your states attorney general (http://www.consumerfraudreporting.org/stateattorneygenerallist.php) to also file a complaint.

gooner21 says:

Carriers double dipping again hey .......

Crayolaboi says:

I've done FaceTime over 3G since the first jailbreak of the ip4 back in the day. I maybe FaceTime once every over month. On unlimited data plan with A-list and any-mobile. I see no reason to switch unless they require it for LTE.