AT&T announced on its consumer blog today that it will finally allow FaceTime over cellular available to all customers on a tiered data plan, after previously offering it first only to those with a Mobile Share plan and then later to those with both LTE devices and tiered plans. Took them long enough.
Apple opened up FaceTime to cellular network use back in September with the launch of iOS 6, but left it up to carrier discretion whether or not to allow those kinds of connections on their network. In the U.S., while Sprint and Verizon allowed the service for everyone from the get-go, AT&T hung back and played it cool, rolling out access to select groups of customers.
Nor did AT&T provide access to Apple’s video chat service on its mobile network all that willingly. It was pushed at least in part by net neutrality complaints from Public Knowledge, Free Press, New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute and others. AT&T says it should percolate to customers automatically via an update throughout the next few months, and users don’t have to do anything to get it. That’s pretty good, but guess what would have been better? If the carrier had done the same exact thing four months ago.