AT&T may charge for FaceTime over cellular use on iOS 6 [UPDATED]Alex Wagner - Editorial Director of News and Content
When Apple took the wraps off of iOS 6 last month, one of the several new features of the OS that the company named off was the ability to make FaceTime video calls over a cellular connection. Customers have been able to make FaceTime calls over Wi-Fi since 2010, but iOS 6 will finally allow users to conduct video chats while out and about. However, a new rumor has suggested that this new feature may come with new charges for some users. 9to5 Mac has acquired a screenshot from an AT&T iPhone running iOS 6 beta 3 that shows a prompt telling the user to contact AT&T online or over the phone to enable FaceTime over cellular on their device. AT&T issued the following statement on the matter:
"We’re working closely with Apple on the new developer build of iOS6 and we’ll share more information with our customers as it becomes available."
When attempting to make a FaceTime call over a cellular connection on a Verizon iPad with iOS 6 beta 3, 9to5 Mac reports that it encountered no such prompt. AT&T already asks that iOS users pay an extra fee for personal hotspot use, so the carrier may opt for a similar charge for FaceTime over cellular. It's also possible that, when contacted by customers, AT&T may caution them that using FaceTime over cellular will count toward their data plan and then enable the feature after the warning. iOS 6 is expected to be released to the public this fall, so we likely have a few more months to wait before finding out exactly how AT&T plans on handling FaceTime over cellular.
UPDATE: AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has responded to the rumors that his carrier may charge for FaceTime use over a cellular connection. Speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference, Stephenson said that he's heard the rumor but that right now, "it's too early to talk about pricing." So it looks like iPhone-toting AT&T customers will continue to wonder whether or not FaceTime calls made away from Wi-Fi will cost extra.