AT&T is supposed to be in the midst of rolling out the use of FaceTime over cellular to customers signed up for shared or tiered data plans. But it looks like the update could be more broad than that. Wednesday morning there were reports that AT&T subscribers with older unlimited data plans can now access FaceTime over cellular.
An AT&T customer with an iPhone 4S and an unlimited plan posted his own experience to a MacRumors forum. He said he noticed the FaceTime over cellular toggle switch in his Settings menu was flipped to “on” after restarting his phone. Other customers have seen the same thing. Still, it’s not clear if this is a staged rollout to more customers or a glitch.
I have a grandfathered unlimited plan from AT&T and an iPhone 5. I too saw that my FaceTime over cellular service was switched to “on” this morning after restarting my phone. But when I checked the Settings menu again just a few minutes later, it had reverted to “off.” I tried restarting my phone again to see if I could get FaceTime over cellular to come back on, but I had no such luck.
This would be yet another step in the evolution of AT&T’s stance on FaceTime over cellular. After Apple announced that iOS 6 would enable FaceTime to work over cellular connections in addition to Wi-Fi, AT&T said it would only extend the service to any customers that signed up for one of its new Mobile Shared Data plans. This raised the ire of many customers and AT&T was threatened with a net neutrality complaint filed with the FCC.
The carrier then relented earlier this month, saying that in addition to customers with shared data plans, it would also open FaceTime over cellular to those with tiered data plans using an LTE-capable iPhone with iOS 6. That rollout was supposed to take eight to 10 weeks.
I reached out to AT&T for clarification about what’s going on, but have yet to hear back.