Mobile Video

AT&T Reserves 4G FaceTime for Data Sharers

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) isn't going to charge for FaceTime on iOS 6 as rumored, but it will be limiting Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s video chat service to those customers on shared data plans.

Use of FaceTime will count against consumers' data bucket but will be free from additional charges. Consumers not signed up to one of AT&T's new Mobile Share data plans will be limited to Wi-Fi for FaceTime, the carrier said on Friday afternoon.

AT&T introduced its data-sharing plans last month, but unlike Verizon Wireless , did not make them mandatory for consumers. It's using the lure of FaceTime to help convince its unlimited or standard tier subscribers to upgrade, as well as to alleviate data stress on its network. (See AT&T Joins Verizon in the Shared Data Pool.)

Why this matters
This policy will likely upset those customers who were opting not to switch to one of AT&T's shared plans when they launch next week. And, it may catch the eye of consumer advocacy groups concerned about net neutrality violations, because AT&T is blocking the app for certain customer segments.

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— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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