AT&T CEO: Too early to talk FaceTime 3G pricing

When rumors started surfacing that FaceTime would soon be possible over 3G after appearing (as an error message) in iOS 5.1, another rumor quickly followed it in that it would also come at some cost to the user.

Now Engadget is reporting that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson speaking at Fortune Brainstorm conference, is quoted as saying that he had "heard the same rumor," but that it was "too early to talk about pricing." At the moment the company is reportedly working with Apple to ensure that FaceTime runs smoothly over their network, with the general availability of iOS 6 expected later this year.

It's of no surprise that cell phone companies would jump at the chance to charge for additional services over their network, but what that will be remains to be seen.

Source: Engadget | Image: Associated Press

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28 Comments

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bmthetechfan said,
Receiving SMS costs something in the USA?? Wow thats just crazy.... Just curious to know do they charge for the junk SMS too??
Yes, unless you call and spend 30 mins on hold, and then 30 mins arguing with 'customer support. Thats the way it is in canada, and I believe it is similar in the states.

It's free if you pay for a text plan.

darkpuma said,
Yes, unless you call and spend 30 mins on hold, and then 30 mins arguing with 'customer support. Thats the way it is in canada, and I believe it is similar in the states.

It's free if you pay for a text plan.

How much per received text? Of course, get iPhones and you all get iMessages for free. Almost every single person I know now has iMessage so even if we did get charged in the uk, it'd cost me nothing

Spirit Dave said,

How much per received text? Of course, get iPhones and you all get iMessages for free. Almost every single person I know now has iMessage so even if we did get charged in the uk, it'd cost me nothing

Usually 15cents per text. However, what darkpuma is neglecting to tell you is that the majority of the plans have unlimited texting (incoming and outgoing) built into them. So it's really a moot point. As for the plans that don't include texting (usually the lowest priced plans which offer very limited features), unlimited or a high amount of free texts are usually also included in the Call Display/Voice Mail add on bundle as well.

So yes, it seems ridiculous if you look at it as paying for texts. But realistically it's included in nearly all plans and isn't really an issue.

It would be absolutely ridiculous if they charged an additional fee for FaceTime over 3G. I wouldn't put it pass Verizon and AT&T.

StraightTalk FTW.

I guess he has to speak with Verizon's CEO before just to make sure they will charge something as well.

I am in the same boat with Canada carrier here (read Rogers, Bell, Telus)

Hahaha, so stupid. My Android (SGS2 with CM9) wasn't letting me do video chat over 3G, so I want to the market, got GTalkEnabler (requires root) and forced it to let me. Problem solved.

When I see that guy's face I'm wondering how much more you can look like what you're doing.
"Awww sh**, we're not getting enough billions, let's just milk the customers for things they already pay for AGAIN."

Tethering, FaceTime, etc...
Laughable. Can I buy the FaceTime plan sans data package, because it must be "something else"
No? Please explain, why do you charge for both? Noob customers will unknowingly be trolling so hard, it will be a FEAST!

On another note: fix yer god damn network coverage with all the dollars that keep rolling in already, Jebus Christ.

GS:mac

Lumia or not, I can see myself switching back to Tmo if these twats want to start charging for video calls. I can see this being something Windows Phone will be especially targeted for because of the way Skype and other VOIP programs integrate with the OS and MS's aim to be so carrier friendly. Already pay for data and tethering now and can make Skype calls, not paying more to do the same thing.

efjay said,
Lumia or not, I can see myself switching back to Tmo if these twats want to start charging for video calls. I can see this being something Windows Phone will be especially targeted for because of the way Skype and other VOIP programs integrate with the OS and MS's aim to be so carrier friendly. Already pay for data and tethering now and can make Skype calls, not paying more to do the same thing.

people are lured to use these so called "Subisidized", AKA "Crippled", phones and put themselves at the mercy of carriers. Buy a SIM free phone and do what you want.......

Fritzly said,

people are lured to use these so called "Subisidized", AKA "Crippled", phones and put themselves at the mercy of carriers. Buy a SIM free phone and do what you want.......

That isn't exactly true. If AT&T has a way to tag FaceTime packets and idintify them on their network (yes, they will be able to) then they can simply block those packets if you don't have the plan on your account, it doesn't matter what phone you use. Sadly, if people in mass accept this and AT&T starts making a lot of money, you can bet your phone bill they will go back and start charging for Skype and other video chat systems.

sphbecker said,

That isn't exactly true. If AT&T has a way to tag FaceTime packets and idintify them on their network (yes, they will be able to) then they can simply block those packets if you don't have the plan on your account, it doesn't matter what phone you use. Sadly, if people in mass accept this and AT&T starts making a lot of money, you can bet your phone bill they will go back and start charging for Skype and other video chat systems.

I do not know about that but I can tell you for sure this;: few years ago AT&T and Apple launched an iPhone, not sure about the model, I have always used devices with MS OSes, I guess it was the 3G though. Anyway my wife wanted it and I bought one, SIM free, during a trip in Europe. She put her AT&T SIM card in it and.... voila' MMS were working without a glitch. Basically what Apple and AT&T did was to alter in some way the software of the ones sold in the US to block this functionality.
Besides I had Nokia phones with Video call capabilities ten years ago and honestly I never used it.

Facetime would be over 3G. Data. Not calls. Charging extra on top would be unethical and essentially a breach of the standard contract everyone signs. Data is limited to X amount, and calls are limited to X amount. Facetime is a data call. Skype's been able to go over that data for ages, so why couldn't Facetime? I don't think the companies will charge. The backlash would be insane.

Spirit Dave said,
Facetime would be over 3G. Data. Not calls. Charging extra on top would be unethical and essentially a breach of the standard contract everyone signs. Data is limited to X amount, and calls are limited to X amount. Facetime is a data call. Skype's been able to go over that data for ages, so why couldn't Facetime? I don't think the companies will charge. The backlash would be insane.
I think they will, just give it time. There will be backlash, but there always is, and the consumer always bends over n takes it in the end.
I cant think of a good example, but do you remember when receiving text messages was free?

darkpuma said,
I think they will, just give it time. There will be backlash, but there always is, and the consumer always bends over n takes it in the end.
I cant think of a good example, but do you remember when receiving text messages was free?

Receiving text messages IS free ....

darkpuma said,
do you remember when receiving text messages was free?

Receiving text messages is free in Australia, New Zealand and many other markets in Asia Pac.

Spirit Dave said,

Receiving text messages IS free ....

Not in the US. As a Brit living in the US I find it shocking what mobile carriers get away with over here. There is very little competition and the carriers pretty much do what they want. If only there was an OFCOM here, the FCC is a joke.

Spirit Dave said,
Facetime would be over 3G. Data. Not calls. Charging extra on top would be unethical and essentially a breach of the standard contract everyone signs.

They already do this with hotspot. You're using the same data as you would on your phone, but they'll charge a premium to use it as a hotspot. You can only tether on the top data tier.

Spirit Dave said,
Facetime would be over 3G. Data. Not calls. Charging extra on top would be unethical and essentially a breach of the standard contract everyone signs. Data is limited to X amount, and calls are limited to X amount. Facetime is a data call. Skype's been able to go over that data for ages, so why couldn't Facetime? I don't think the companies will charge. The backlash would be insane.

I think they could get away with it and not see too much backlash. People who recognize that AT&T is double dipping are tech savvy enough to have already moved on and use other video chat services (Tango, Skype). People who still use face time likely don't know enough to realize that they're being charged again to use the data that they are already paying for.

Spirit Dave said,
Facetime would be over 3G. Data. Not calls. Charging extra on top would be unethical and essentially a breach of the standard contract everyone signs. Data is limited to X amount, and calls are limited to X amount. Facetime is a data call. Skype's been able to go over that data for ages, so why couldn't Facetime? I don't think the companies will charge. The backlash would be insane.

I agree. I can understand in the unlimited data days charging extra for services like this, but we are already paying for data!!! Why do they care how we use it?? If one person wants to use their 2GB streaming Netflixs and another person wants to use it on FaceTime, why should those two people pay anything different?

shockz said,

They already do this with hotspot. You're using the same data as you would on your phone, but they'll charge a premium to use it as a hotspot. You can only tether on the top data tier.

True, and that already doesn't make much sense either. Data is data, it doesn't cost AT&T anymore if it is used by a laptop or the phone. With unlimited plans, sure, charge extra for the hot spot, we know laptos are going to use a lot more than phones, but with limits in place, they are already going to get more money if you use more data!! It just comes down to the simple fact that companies like AT&T will charge what they can get away with, not what is logical. Case and Point, text messages.

Squuiid said,

Not in the US. As a Brit living in the US I find it shocking what mobile carriers get away with over here.

It's all of north america, not just the US. In fact, the US has it very good compared to canada =/

So - for all you people that said receiving texts is free... consider yourselves lucky, but keep in mind that if you have the wrong people in power, this kinda thing can be changed very easily.