Carriers Quiet on Prospects for FaceTime Over Cellular Networks with iOS 6

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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As part of its iOS 6 preview at last week's Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced that it would officially be bringing its FaceTime video calling feature to cellular networks, significantly expanding the usability of the feature for users on the go.
FaceTime now works over cellular networks as well as Wi-Fi, so you can make and receive FaceTime calls wherever you happen to be. You can even make and receive FaceTime calls on your iPad using your phone number. That means you can use FaceTime wherever you are, on any device. And never miss another wink, smile, air kiss, or eye roll.
But as with other carrier-dependent features like tethering and personal hotspot, FaceTime could still find itself subject to limitations imposed by the carriers.




MarketWatch takes a look at the impact of FaceTime over cellular, noting that it could soak up significant amounts of cellular bandwidth just as carriers are moving to refocus their service plans to emphasize data usage over calling minutes. But so far the carriers are silent on how and even whether they will support FaceTime on their networks.
The carriers that offer the iPhone wouldn't comment on their plans for offering FaceTime on their networks, but an AT&T spokesman said the company is "working closely with Apple on features disclosed for iOS 6, and we'll share more information with our customers as we get closer to launch."
The report notes that with customers being shifted to tiered data plans on most carriers, carrier concerns over FaceTime usage may be lessened, but it still remains to be seen just how they will handle the new functionality and how it will impact their networks.

Apple's small-print footnotes on FaceTime in iOS 6 mention only that "carrier data charges may apply", making no disclaimer that the feature could be not supported at all by certain carriers. And with FaceTime over cellular networks working under the iOS 6 beta, it seems likely that carriers will support the feature and simply rely on customers' data caps to keep usage in check or increase revenue through higher-cost plans.

Article Link: Carriers Quiet on Prospects for FaceTime Over Cellular Networks with iOS 6
 

atomwork

macrumors regular
Jun 5, 2001
244
16
Miami Beach
I never understood this policy by Apple not to allow FaceTime when not connected to a WiFi network. Skype video and voice works flawless on the iPhone over 3G.
 

charlieegan3

macrumors 68020
Feb 16, 2012
2,394
14
U.K
Making facetime work for everyone will need a huge investment from carriers. Probably means price increases for all customers (regardless of their facetime usage)
 

BornAgainMac

macrumors 603
Feb 4, 2004
6,485
3,522
Florida Resident
The unlimited plans was most likely the reason they never allowed it in the first place. Now they can make money from it. I don't know what Sprint will do.
 

ganymedes13

macrumors member
Dec 30, 2011
52
0
Verizon's new plans removes the concern for these kinds of things since it puts a premium on data usage.

The carriers will find a way (or loophole) that will force customers into these new plans.
 

foodog

macrumors 6502a
Sep 6, 2006
906
38
Atlanta, GA
"limitations imposed by the carriers" :mad:

Cellular carriers have to be pushed a little by the Congress... too much power they have!
Exactly... Hopefully the pre-paid carriers can help provide the desired pressure. Congress can only screw up stuff... money makes companies modify their behavior much better.
 

hitekalex

macrumors 68000
Feb 4, 2008
1,624
0
Chicago, USA
Making facetime work for everyone will need a huge investment from carriers. Probably means price increases for all customers (regardless of their facetime usage)
Huh? "Huge investment" for what exactly? FaceTime uses data bandwidth, just like any other VoIP app, like Skype. I use FaceTime over cellular data on my jailbroken iPhone - it runs just fine.
 

CIA

macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2003
570
244
Of course carriers are mum. Facetime uses a lot of data. With less and less people on unlimited data plans every day that's going to be a cash cow for them!

Then again, not a lot of people use facetime...
 

Amazing Iceman

macrumors 601
Nov 8, 2008
4,001
1,599
Florida, U.S.A.
Making facetime work for everyone will need a huge investment from carriers. Probably means price increases for all customers (regardless of their facetime usage)
What's the big deal with FaceTime, what does it do more in the sense of putting a load on carriers, that Skype, ooVoo, Tango and others don't do?

What's the big deal about blocking FaceTime??? Just let it be. Not having it available over 3G just makes no sense.
 

ckelley

macrumors regular
Aug 25, 2003
130
171
Austin, TX
I think since we all know about this feature, this should be okay to mention... but I (legally) installed iOS 6 onto my iPhone before heading out on a trip to Kansas City. It was awesome to be able to be at a Royals game and have a FaceTime conversation with my dad without having to find a WiFi signal. Now I wasn't going to show him the whole game, but I called him via FaceTime and started chatting with him, showing him the game from my vantage point. It was really cool. Granted there probably were some public WiFi spots (we were in the suites level) but the ability to have this capability from anywhere is just great and what it should have been all along.

I'm on AT&T, and if they think about hampering this I will lose it. Personal Hotspot is one thing, but this is ridiculous. There are a multitude of other apps out there that can do video chat over cellular data. Plus, I'm paying you for the data, why do you even care if I blow through it in no time?
 

Amazing Iceman

macrumors 601
Nov 8, 2008
4,001
1,599
Florida, U.S.A.
Of course carriers are mum. Facetime uses a lot of data. With less and less people on unlimited data plans every day that's going to be a cash cow for them!

Then again, not a lot of people use facetime...
More than Skype, ooVoo and Tango?

The ooVoo app allows for multiple web conferences simultaneously. I would imagine it would be a much bigger bandwidth hog than FaceTime...
 

ppilone

macrumors 6502
Jan 20, 2008
361
0
It's sad - you'll get one FaceTime call per month over cellular because of the data caps imposed by cell providers. Patiently waiting the day where somebody lays the smack down on AT&T, Verizon, and the rest.
 

neiltc13

macrumors 68040
May 27, 2006
3,116
6
I think with most of the carriers now offering 1GB as standard on the higher end plans (and on many iPhone plans) this shouldn't really be an issue. I mean, there's not that many situations where you'd be without WiFi but needing to make a video call.

Some of the carriers are more relaxed than others as well, I think T-Mobile is quite lenient when people go over their cap. Plus my friend called them and said he wanted data included in his plan (he pays £7 per month I think) and they gave him 500MB per month for free.
 

CrAkD

macrumors 68040
Feb 15, 2010
3,178
255
Boston, MA
Please they've capped all new users and throttled unlimited users they have us coming and going a new way for customers to eat up allotted data is just dollar signs to the carriers.
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,252
12,212
Europe
More than Skype, ooVoo and Tango?

The ooVoo app allows for multiple web conferences simultaneously. I would imagine it would be a much bigger bandwidth hog than FaceTime...
What's the big deal with FaceTime, what does it do more in the sense of putting a load on carriers, that Skype, ooVoo, Tango and others don't do?

What's the big deal about blocking FaceTime??? Just let it be. Not having it available over 3G just makes no sense.
I can't find exact numbers, but I presume there are far far far more people that have facetime preinstalled (and therefore likely to use it) than those who specifically installed one of the alternatives.

Huh? "Huge investment" for what exactly? FaceTime uses data bandwidth, just like any other VoIP app, like Skype. I use FaceTime over cellular data on my jailbroken iPhone - it runs just fine.
You're one user. Now multiply that by millions.
 

dashiel

macrumors 6502a
Nov 12, 2003
876
0
I never understood this policy by Apple not to allow FaceTime when not connected to a WiFi network. Skype video and voice works flawless on the iPhone over 3G.
Standard operating procedure for Apple. If they’re not confident the quality is up to par they won’t release … well most of the time there are of course exceptions to the rule. Counter to your experience I find Skype to be rather unreliable over cellular or WiFi, iOS or OS X. I get lots of dropped connections, audio drop-outs, in video I get noticeable delays. FaceTime on the other hand is indeed flawless. I have weekly chats with friends around the country and unlike any other option we’ve tried you completely forget you’re using technology with FaceTime.

I’m hoping for audio only FaceTime in the near future as the video call quality is orders of magnitude more reliable and high fidelity that the phone app.
 

hitekalex

macrumors 68000
Feb 4, 2008
1,624
0
Chicago, USA
The ooVoo app allows for multiple web conferences simultaneously. I would imagine it would be a much bigger bandwidth hog than FaceTime...
I have never heard of anyone using ooVoo or Tango, but Skype is very widely used on iOS devices. And it uses comparable amount of bandwidth as FaceTime.

I don't see FaceTime every becoming a major factor, as it's limited to Apple devices.. And it doesn't integrate with PSTN. Which makes it more or less useless as a true replacement for traditional voice.

While allowing FaceTime over cell data is a nice step forward, it's pretty insignificant in a grand scheme of things.


You're one user. Now multiply that by millions.
"Millions" aren't waiting to start using FaceTime over carrier networks. FaceTime is just another communications app amongst many.
 

viperGTS

macrumors 68000
Nov 15, 2010
1,560
900
FaceTime over 3G/cellular was enabled in iOS 5. This is just apple tryig to find an excuse for a 10th "major" feature.
 
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