Last month, when Apple announced that FaceTime – the video calling feature will be work even over cellular networks with iOS 6, we noted that carriers were quiet about offering the feature on their networks.
AT&T customers are reporting that they are getting the following error message when they try to activate FaceTime over cellular networks after upgrading to iOS 6 beta 3 that was seeded few hours back.
The error message indicates that AT&T plans to charge users for using FaceTime over cellular network as it is similar to the one given to AT&T customers who wish to enable the data tethering feature.
Interestingly, 9to5Mac reports that Verizon users who had upgraded their iPhone to iOS 6 beta 3 are not getting an error message when they try to activate FaceTime over cellular networks.
Analysts estimate FaceTime’s per minute usage to lie between 1.5MB to 7.5 MB, which translates into 11 hours of talk time from one gigabyte of data use at the lowest rate. At the highest rate, it would give about two hours and 15 minutes of talk time. The large variation is due to FaceTime’s ability to adjust the quality of the call as per the bandwidth available.
AT&T has issued the following statement:
We’re working closely with Apple on the new developer build of iOS 6 and we’ll share more information with our customers as it becomes available.
The fact that AT&T is not denying it, suggests that they are indeed planning to charge customers for using FaceTime over cellular networks. Customers are already unhappy (quite rightly) about paying additional fee for the mobile hotspot feature, so we doubt they will be willing to pay an additional charge to use FaceTime over cellular networks, especially when you consider that most VoIP apps like Skype etc. already allow video calls over 3G network.
What do you think? Would you pay an additional fee to use FaceTime over cellular network?