Ever since the launch of Facetime with the iPhone 4 a few years back, AT&T has not allowed users to use the preloaded app over their cellular networks. Instead, iPhone users were forced to use Facetime over WiFi only. Though it seemed problematic at first, the iPhone 4 and 4S users adopted and moved on. That is, until rumors started to suggest that the soon to come iOS 6 will allow people to utilize Facetime of AT&Ts 3G and 4G networks. Though the capability will be there, AT&T decided to only give access to users who opt into using their new shared data plans.
Everything AT&T has done in respect to Facetime makes sense; even their latest stunt. Plain and simply, AT&T’s data networks cannot handle the stress of video chats. It is completly understandable as to why they would limit the use of Facetime. Though their data networks may be more saturated than ever, AT&T faces a greater threat: grandfathered unlimited data users. Yes, they still exists and they do so in large numbers. As a result, AT&T is only offering Facetime over cellular to those who have opted in for their shared data plans which requires losing your unlimited data plan.
So when AT&T took the time out to tell us that they are making this move because “of an overriding concern for the impact this expansion may have on our network and the overall customer experience.” what they really meant is that the users who continue their grandfathered unlimited data plans are the ones causing the negative impact on the expansion on their networks and deterring the overall customer experiences.
Not to make you grandfathered users out there to feel bad, because you shouldn’t. If carriers like Verizon and Sprint can offer Facetime of 3G/4G then AT&T needs to be able to step up to the plate. I believe it to be critically unfair with how they are going about this. It would be better if they charge extra for Facetime over cellular, but to offer it only to those on a particular data plan? Well, there’s always Sprint and Verizon.