Over the past few weeks, AT&T has been under fire for their move to charge additional for customers looking to use Apple’s FaceTime over their cellular network, the latest decision that exemplifies corporate thuggery. Up until now, FaceTime required a WiFi connection. One of the new features in iOS 6 is the ability to make a FaceTime video call over cellular. Early beta testers on AT&T’s network received a notification to contact AT&T regarding the need to enable FaceTime.
This was followed up by AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson’s comment that it was “too early to talk”, which the became “you’ll need a new AT&T Shared Data Plan to use FaceTime over cellular”. The backlash from consumers continued with talk that AT&T’s new policy might be in violation of the FCC’s Net Neutrality laws. AT&T is not backing down. Rather then address concerns of their customers, they published this blog post which outlines why they are legally in the right. Here are the highlights.
To be clear, customers will continue to be able to use FaceTime over Wi-Fi irrespective of the data plan they choose. We are broadening our customers’ ability to use the preloaded version of FaceTime but limiting it in this manner to our newly developed AT&T Mobile Share data plans out of an overriding concern for the impact this expansion may have on our network and the overall customer experience.
We always strive to provide our customers with the services they desire and will incorporate our learnings from the roll-out of FaceTime on our mobile broadband network into our future service offerings.
Keep digging that hole AT&T. This stuff might have worked when you were the only carrier that offered the iPhone. While my usage of FaceTime is often in a WiFi network, I’m ready to pull out my pitchfork when they require we drop our unlimited data plans in order to use 4G LTE on the new iPhone. I do however understand those who make use of FaceTime outside of WiFi while using their existing data plan. Grab your pitchforks or make plans to jump carriers come September 21st.