Way back in July, when we were taking stock of the changes in the then-latest iOS 6 beta, we learned of the presence of an error message that seemed to suggest using FaceTime over cellular connections would be limited by the carriers. Specifically, we saw a message inviting AT&T users to contact the company in order to activate FaceTime over cellular. Later, in August, AT&T confirmed the nature of the message, revealing that only users on its new Mobile Share plans would be granted the ability. What does that mean for FaceTime on the other major carriers, though? Luckily, it’s a better story for Sprint and Verizon users, although those networks could have their own problems for new iPhone 5 users.
Both Verizon and Sprint will let users make FaceTime calls over their cellular data networks without restriction. Sprint doesn’t directly mention FaceTime, but its statement that users “can enjoy everything iPhone 5 has to offer on our 4G LTE network” implies no special FaceTime restrictions. Verizon is much more direct, saying, “customers wanting to use FaceTime on their iPhone 5 can do so using any Verizon Wireless data plan allowance.”
The story may not be so rosy when it comes to wideband audio support. If Apple’s mention of the technology sounded like HD Voice, it should, as they describe the same sort of thing. Sprint already has support for HD Voice, but apparently it won’t be one of the 20 carriers featuring Apple’s wideband audio, as the iPhone 5’s implementation doesn’t work over CDMA networks. While we haven’t heard anything specifically mentioning Verizon support for the feature, considering it’s also CDMA, things don’t look good.