AT&T may be playing hardball with Apple’s FaceTime video chat feature on its network, but Verizon Wireless is opening up all of its data plans to the feature for free, a Verizon spokesperson tells the Wall Street Journal.
This includes customers grandfathered into Verizon’s unlimited data plans (which are no longer available to new subscribers). In comparison, AT&T is bending net neutrality rules to force its subscribers into data share plans to use FaceTime over cellular.
The FaceTime over cellular capability is one of the many new features in iOS 6, which is available on September 19 for recent iPhone and iPad models. Sprint has also said that it won’t place any restrictions on FaceTime over cellular.
Ever since launching the FaceTime video chat feature with the iPhone 4, Apple has restricted FaceTime capabilities to Wi-Fi in the U.S. That wasn’t a huge inconvenience, since 3G networks aren’t really fast enough to support video chat. But with the inclusion of 4G LTE on the iPhone 5, there’s no excuse not to offer FaceTime over cellular.
I just hope AT&T and Verizon are prepared for the onslaught of data that’s going to hit their LTE networks. As AT&T can attest, you should never underestimate the data demand from iPhone owners.