Attention AT&T tiered plan customers: more of you can now use FaceTime

FaceTime is getting realer

After public backlash, threat of formal Federal Communications Commission (FCC) complaints and some bending, AT&T is finally letting customers on any tiered data plan with compatible iOS devices to use FaceTime over cellular.

The announcement came via a company blog post Wednesday, with Mark Collins, AT&T senior vice president or data and voice products, laying it all out.

"As a result of ongoing testing, we're announcing AT&T will enable FaceTime over cellular at no extra charge for customers with any tiered data plan using a compatible iOS device," Collins wrote.

He made sure to point out specifically that iPhone 4S customers with tiered plans can take advantage of Apple's video chat feature, which was introduced with the advent of iOS 6.


Before today's announcement, AT&T required those who wanted to use FaceTime over cellular to switch to one of its Mobile Share plans when it introduced the feature in September 2012.

In November, AT&T changed its tune, opening FaceTime up to those on tiered data plans and not just Mobile Share holders - though only for those with 4G LTE devices.

Now that it's cracked the door open a little more, customers should start to see the automatic update rolling out starting in a few weeks.

There is one catch to the good news: AT&T has so far stayed quiet on whether customers with grandfathered unlimited data plans can access FaceTime.

Not everyone is satiated

AT&T had been under the watchful eye of several Net neutrality groups since its FaceTime brouhaha began. Free Press has been one of the more outspoken, telling TechRadar in August that AT&T made up FCC language to justify its requirement to switch to Mobile Share plans in order to access FaceTime.

The organization hasn't let AT&T out of its sights, issuing this statement earlier today.

"AT&T's announcement is another step in the right direction," Matt Wood, Free Press' policy director, said in the statement.

"It shows once again that the FCC's Open Internet rules can create more consumer certainty, as they work to give people more choices and freedom in use of their data.

"Yet as we've made clear all along, the company has no right to block the application in the first place. Until AT&T makes FaceTime available to all of its customers, it is still in violation of the law and the broader principles of Net Neutrality.

"We remain ready to bring our complaint unless AT&T finishes the job and stops blocking this application altogether."

TechRadar asked Free Press if it has a deadline for AT&T to comply before filing its complaint and was told by a company spokeswoman that there isn't a concrete deadline, but Free Press will continue to monitor AT&T's actions over the coming weeks and months.