In what was a largely controversial decision last summer, AT&T decided to restrict FaceTime over cellular to its Mobile Share data plan subscribers only. And while AT&T will continue practising that policy, the carrier has now expanded FaceTime access to Apple’s three LTE devices — the iPhone 5, iPad mini and third-generation iPad or later — at no additional charge.
A tiered data plan is still required to access the video chat service on your iPhone or iPad over LTE networks, but that is better than being forced to subscribe to AT&T’s more expensive Mobile Share data packages. FaceTime also works over Wi-Fi networks for no additional charges.
AT&T today announced it will enable FaceTime over Cellular at no extra charge for iOS 6 customers with an LTE device on any tiered data plan. AT&T will also continue to offer FaceTime over Cellular to customers with any AT&T Mobile Share plan, as well as FaceTime over Wi-Fi, which has always been available.
We expect to roll out this functionality over the next 8-10 weeks. In addition, we are informing our deaf and hard of hearing customers that, as of October 26, we began rolling out several new billing plans designed to allow them to make use of FaceTime. This is part of our ongoing commitment to our customers with disabilities, and it’s a commitment which is very important to us.
Moreover, AT&T has announced that it will be providing a $100 discount off the iPad with LTE or any other tablet based on signing a new 2-year service agreement. For the deal to be honored, the carrier forces you to choose from $15, $30 or $50 data plans that provide 250 MB, 3GB or 5GB in data allowance per month respectively.
Interestingly, this is the first time that a carrier has subsidized the price of an iPad. Most current iPad data plans do not require being locked into a lengthier contract, instead providing service on a month-by-month basis as needed. Let’s just hope it doesn’t become an outright requirement to have a service contract with AT&T or other carriers to use the tablet on cellular networks.