AT&T drew a lot of heat last year when it imposed some artificial limitations on how users would be able to use Apple’s FaceTime while pulling their data over the carrier’s cellular network. Sure, being able to use FaceTime over cellular at all was nice, but only if you happened to be rocking one of AT&T’s new shared data plans. Following some well-deserved complaints from its subscribers, AT&T started allowing less restrictive access to FaceTime, but still had some wonky rules in place, like how users on tiered data plans could use FaceTime with an iPhone 5 and its LTE connection, but not with an iPhone 4S over HSPA+. Back in November, we heard that the carrier was beginning to remove even that limitation, and though it’s taken a while to do so, AT&T has finally made a formal announcement today of the new FaceTime over cellular rules.
The good news: like we heard last year, there are now no restrictions on cellular-based FaceTime connections for users on tiered data plans. Unfortunately, AT&T stopped short of backing-down altogether, and users on an old grandfathered unlimited data plan are still out of luck.
To an extent, we can understand that decision, as it could open up the carrier to some really excessive bandwidth utilization, but on the other hand we’re hesitant to give AT&T a pass, as it never should have sold anyone “unlimited” data in the first place if it wasn’t prepared to follow-through with the offer.
AT&T says that it could be a few weeks before all eligible users are able to connect to FaceTime over cellular connections.