Networks Could Charge For 3G FaceTime

Mobile operators could charge for the use of FaceTime on a cellular network

Mobile operators could be preparing to charge customers for using Apple’s iOS video calling service FaceTime on their networks.

FaceTime was first introduced to iPhones and iPads in 2010, but has previously been limited to Wi-Fi connections. This is set to change with iOS 6, which brings 3G Facetime to cellular networks for the first time.

3G FaceTime

One user running the beta version of iOS 6 in the US, tried to access FaceTime on AT&T’s 4G network, but was greeted with a prompt telling them to contact the operator in order to enable the feature on their account. 9to5mac said that it received the same prompt when using FaceTime on a Verizon iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular, but the feature worked without an issue.

AT&T has not confirmed whether or not it plans to charge customers for 3G FaceTime usage on its network, but given the large amount of data that it is likely to demand, it seems a realistic proposition.

Other data-hungry iPhone features, such as voice-recognition software Siri, have been blamed for placing strain on 3G networks and many operators, including AT&T, charge its users an additional fee for tethering.

If similar plans were made by UK operators, it could raise the issue of net neutrality, the belief that all types of Internet traffic are treated the same.

Announced at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) last month, iOS 6 promises more than 200 features, including updates to Siri, better Facebook integration, new Safari and iCloud features and a brand new mapping application.

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