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  • No Cell Minutes Used for iPhone FaceTime Calls



    Dan Frommer of Silicon Alley Insider is sharing some good news with iPhone 4 buyers and prospective buyers this weekend. According to his sources from Apple, the new FaceTime video calls - as hoped - won't use any carrier minutes even when initiated from within a voice call.

    The report comes as a welcome morsel of positive news as many AT&T customers have grown restless and eager to find out more about the potential costs and restrictions of the long-awaited iPhone video call feature.

    While some have accused both Apple and AT&T of using "cryptic language" when referring to the FaceTime feature, many of the details we've waited for are now finally be coming to light. After all, the Apple rep told Frommer that "The voice call ends as soon as the FaceTime call connects. The FaceTime call is over Wi-Fi so does not use carrier minutes." That's pretty straightforward and far from "cryptic."

    Apart from the ease with which carrier minutes would disintegrate if absorbed during FaceTime calls, some AT&T customers also expressed concern that a shoddy 3G mobile connection would preclude users from having an enjoyable, smooth video phone call. Wi-Fi reliability will underpin FaceTime calls, which won't have the voice call continued in the background as a "backup" should the video call abruptly end.

    For the next version of FaceTime that works over 3G, Apple and its carrier partners will need to decide how those calls are billed -- as minutes toward voice calling, as data toward monthly data caps, or both, or something entirely different.
    As our friends at Apple Insider reported, it is certainly possible but not yet confirmed that Apple may soon make it possible to initiate FaceTime calls from a future iPod touch - one designed with a corresponding camera optimized for such functionality.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: No Cell Minutes Used for iPhone FaceTime Calls started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 88 Comments
    1. Happy Noodle Boy's Avatar
      Happy Noodle Boy -
      Kinda figured it'd be like that. Not like I'll ever use it considering the only other person around here I know that's getting an iPhone 4 is one of my bosses...

      Maybe I could make a Facetime call from a job site and show him how awesome/terrible things are going.
    1. adp's Avatar
      adp -
      Is there anyone here who actually thought you would be charged? Captain Obvious?
    1. spiderguy84's Avatar
      spiderguy84 -
      Seriously a waste of an article. You can only make facetime calls to other iPhone 4 users. iPhone is only with AT&T. AT&T calls to other AT&T customers already don't use minutes. A big fat duh!!!
    1. iPhoneApps's Avatar
      iPhoneApps -
      Before you people speak you should think. There are rumors that ATT is going to charge for data when using the femtocell which uses your existing internet connection. So if there are rumors about that why wouldn't there be rumors about this.

      And why wouldn't you think for a second that ATT wouldn't try and gouge it's customers...? They certainly did with the data rate changes.

      You people are giving ATT too much credit.
    1. faymus's Avatar
      faymus -
      slow news day huh?
    1. youngbrammer's Avatar
      youngbrammer -
      Well, one plan only has 5000 minutes of AT&T to AT&T but otherwise that's true. There is no way it'd be charged (unless another phone used it because FaceTime is open sourced now)

      Quote Originally Posted by spiderguy84 View Post
      Seriously a waste of an article. You can only make facetime calls to other iPhone 4 users. iPhone is only with AT&T. AT&T calls to other AT&T customers already don't use minutes. A big fat duh!!!
    1. mortopher's Avatar
      mortopher -
      When are they going to just refer to everything as data? I've never understood the dual rates of data and voice. When it all gets boiled down, it is all just data packets, is it not?
    1. JLick's Avatar
      JLick -
      Who thought you'd be charged?

      Too bad I won't have my phone for a while, and everyone around me couldn't give 2 shi(t)s about the iPhone 4 lol...

      Proud to be the only Apple Junky in my city.
    1. johnr9412's Avatar
      johnr9412 -
      Quote Originally Posted by adp View Post
      Is there anyone here who actually thought you would be charged? Captain Obvious?
      the people who actually watched WWDC and saw that, what do ya know, you start a facetime call by actually calling something. therefor using minutes. its a legitimate question and this is a legit answer.
      thank you for the article
    1. screamforme02's Avatar
      screamforme02 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Happy Noodle Boy View Post
      Kinda figured it'd be like that. Not like I'll ever use it considering the only other person around here I know that's getting an iPhone 4 is one of my bosses...

      Maybe I could make a Facetime call from a job site and show him how awesome/terrible things are going.
      haha exactly it would be good..

      maybe they will have an agmuneted reality add on so i can pretend im at a job site
    1. spiderguy84's Avatar
      spiderguy84 -
      Sorry John. You're wrong. Anyone who watched wwdc knows you can only use face time with other iPhones. Every AT&T plan has unlimited mobile to mobile. So there's no reason anyone should have ever thought you'd get charged in face time.
    1. Justin13's Avatar
      Justin13 -
      I think everyone that is throwing out the captain obvious lines is misguided. I mean we are talking about ATT here, why would you ever assume you wouldn't be charged just because you had to use WI-FI?

      I thought it would be charged as regular voice mins and only the video would use the WI-FI. I mean Skype on Verizon comes out of regular voice mins when calling landlines, what's the point of getting Skypeout?
    1. AlexCrammer's Avatar
      AlexCrammer -
      It doesn't use minutes because you do it over Wi-Fi. ?????
    1. JFR's Avatar
      JFR -
      I would rather only the video be transmitted through wi-fi, and the voice through the cell signal...
    1. waheedtarin's Avatar
      waheedtarin -
      Omg here we go again
    1. eortizr's Avatar
      eortizr -
      duuuhhh wifi only,, is not that obvious?
    1. CZroe's Avatar
      CZroe -
      Quote Originally Posted by iPhoneApps View Post
      Before you people speak you should think. There are rumors that ATT is going to charge for data when using the femtocell which uses your existing internet connection. So if there are rumors about that why wouldn't there be rumors about this.

      And why wouldn't you think for a second that ATT wouldn't try and gouge it's customers...? They certainly did with the data rate changes.

      You people are giving ATT too much credit.
      Good point... except that AT&T to AT&T calls are already free (they do not use plan minutes).

      I'm guessing that FaceTime will also work with iChat clients, so that is where some concern comes from. Of course iChat is data
    1. adp's Avatar
      adp -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnr9412 View Post
      the people who actually watched WWDC and saw that, what do ya know, you start a facetime call by actually calling something. therefor using minutes. its a legitimate question and this is a legit answer.
      thank you for the article
      So in MSN messenger or AOL whenever you start a webcam calling feature (using data), you should be charged right? I think you're stuck in 1999
    1. StealthBravo's Avatar
      StealthBravo -
      Quote Originally Posted by spiderguy84 View Post
      iPhone is only with AT&T.
      Is that right?

      So what's up with Facetime internationally?
    1. Happy Noodle Boy's Avatar
      Happy Noodle Boy -
      You people will make an argument out of the color of the sky on a sunny day.

      CHILL!