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AT&T To Expand FaceTime Chats Over Cellular

Dallas –AT&T will expand iPhone FaceTime video chats over cellular to more subscribers, the company announced.

The carrier “will support FaceTime not only on our Mobile Share plans but also on all of our tiered data plans with an LTE device,” a spokesman said. “We expect to roll out this functionality over the next 8-10 weeks.”

The FaceTime app also works over Wi-Fi.

AT&T previously restricted FaceTime chats over cellular to users of its new Mobile Share plans to ensure its network wouldn’t be overtaxed, the company said.

“We will continue to gather and assess the network data on this issue over the next few months and anticipate that we will be able to expand the availability of FaceTime to our customers on other billing plans in the near future,” the company added.

AT&T played it conservative, the company said, because “AT&T has by far more iPhones on our network than any other carrier.” Because so many iPhones are on the AT&T network, it means that “when Apple rolls out new services or changes, as it did in iOS 6, it can have a much greater, and more immediate, impact on AT&T’s network than is the case with carriers who have far fewer iPhone users.”

 With the FaceTime app already preloaded on tens of millions of AT&T customers’ iPhones, “there was no way for our engineers to effectively model usage and thus to assess network impact,” the company explained. “It is for this reason that we took a more cautious approach toward the app. To do otherwise might have risked an adverse impact on the services our customers expect – voice quality in particular – if usage of FaceTime exceeded expectations.”