FaceTime, since its inception almost two years ago, has always remained a Wi-Fi only feature, owing to carriers’ fears of data heavy video calls clogging their already clogged data networks or probably potential loss of revenues like iMessage.
According to a warning message found in iOS 5.1.1 by Russian blog iDevice, it seems that Apple is finally getting ready to flip the switch and enable FaceTime calls over 3G, and presumably over LTE as well.
The warning message, according to the blog, pops up when you try to disable 3G. The translation from Russian isn’t all that clear, but it seems that you need to be on a FaceTime call to reproduce this:
Being called by someone, although I was connected to a 3G data network, when I tried to close the 3G connection I was greeted by the message of the picture above. Normally you should not be called if I was connected to the 3G, but the call originated to me did not stop, but I just got the iPhone warning I missed a call FaceTime.
If there was any doubt, this is clear confirmation that Apple is internally testing FaceTime over 3G. Sadly, even if Apple concludes that FaceTime over 3G is ready for mass consumption, it’s ultimately up to the carriers to allow this. (Remember Internet Tethering?)
This is also not the first time that we’ve seen references of FaceTime over 3G in iOS, as last year a screenshot from iOS 5 beta had hinted at the possibility of Apple including this feature in iOS 5.