Verizon Not Blocking FaceTime Over Cellular for the iPhone 5
After the debut of Apple’s iPhone 5, Verizon Wireless announced that it will allow all iPhone 5 data plan subscribers to use iOS 6’s FaceTime over Cellular. This move is one that Verizon seems to be taking to counter rival carrier AT&T’s plans, which currently limit the feature to the company’s Mobile Share data plans.
For those of you who didn’t already know, FaceTime video calling over cellular networks will be enabled when iOS 6 launches on September 19th, however U.S. wireless operators seem to have opposing views on how to charge customers who use the data-hungry feature. Verizon released a press released stating customers who wanted to use the voice calling feature can do so at any data allowance tier, including existing unlimited data plans. One thing to clarify though is that FaceTime over cellular not be available for existing iPhone 4S users. The wireless carrier’s press release mentioned the following:
Customers purchasing iPhone 5 will also want to purchase a Share Everything Plan beginning at $40 monthly access and $50 monthly account access that includes unlimited voice, unlimited text, picture and video messaging, and a data plan that can be shared with up to 10 devices on a single account. And, customers wanting to use FaceTime on their iPhone 5 can do so using any Verizon Wireless data plan allowance.
Other carriers, including Sprint also said that it would not be imposing any restrictions on FaceTime use. AT&T however announced in August that the feature would only be available to iPhone users who sign up for the company’s Mobile Share data plans. When unhappy customers complained, the carrier released a public letter defending the move, saying it was within its rights to block the app’s access because it doesn’t offer its own video chat service.
Verizon customers will be happy nonetheless with the decision. In the meantime, pre-orders will begin at midnight tonight
(midnight PST) with shipments to follow a week later on September 21.