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Verizon, Sprint Declare FaceTime over Cellular for All

Thu, 09/13/2012 - 7:38am
Andrew Berg

Verizon Wireless has confirmed that it will enable Apple's FaceTime over cellular on all of its data plans. 

Sprint Nextel has also said it will not place limits on FaceTime over cellular, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. 

The move by Verizon comes in the wake of a small backlash over AT&T's stated policy that it will only offer the service to those who subscribe to a shared data plan. 

Apple recently rolled out iOS 6, the latest iteration of its mobile operating system, which enables the FaceTime video-calling service over cellular. Previously, the feature was only available over Wi-Fi. 

Apple unveiled the iPhone 5 yesterday at an event in San Francisco, where the company also announced that iOS 6 will be available for download beginning Sept. 19. 

While Verizon's policy on the matter is decidedly different from AT&T's, it's worth noting that Verizon has also moved forward with a different policy on shared data from its main competitor, AT&T. 

Verizon customers who want to upgrade to a new device with a subsidy are required to sign up for one of the company's Share Everything plans, whereas AT&T is offering its Mobile Share plans as another option and not requiring users to move to them. 

Consumer advocacy groups, including Free Press and Public Knowledge, were vocal about AT&T's policy around FaceTime on cellular, calling it anticompetitive and in violation of the FCC's net neutrality rules. 

AT&T argues that it has not violated the FCC's rules on transparency, and isn't unnecessarily blocking a service or app. 

AT&T claims that has been forthright with consumers about its policies and does not have a similar preloaded video chat app that competes with FaceTime or any other preloaded video chat application, which negates any conflict of interest inherent in its decision to limit availability of FaceTime.

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