UK Networks To Allow FaceTime 3G, Vodafone Places Restrictions
Most UK networks to allow FaceTime as part of data plans, but Vodafone requires VoIP allowance
The majority of UK networks will allow customers to use FaceTime on their iPhone over a cellular network as part of their data plan, but Vodafone users will need to have a VoIP allowance.
FaceTime calls have only been previously possible over a Wi-Fi connection, but the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 6, will allow users to use the service over a 3G or 4G network.
Given the data-intensive nature of video calling and the strain it could place on operators’ networks as well as the threat to revenues, it had been feared that an additional charge for FaceTime 3G calls might be necessary.
However only Vodafone appears to be placing restrictions on its customers. The operator told TechWeekEurope that customers who have monthly plans of £40 or more have a VoIP allowance which can be used for FaceTime. Customers who do not have such an allowance can purchase a VoIP booster, which offers 2GB for £10.
Three said that it treats FaceTime calls as data so there would be nothing extra to pay, while O2 confirmed to us that the data used would simple be taken from their data allowance. EE customers will be able to use FaceTime on Orange and T-Mobile’s 3G networks, while EE 4G customers with an iPhone 5 will also be covered by their plan.
Fears of additional charges were raised by beta testers of iOS6 who were on US networks AT&T and Verizon. When they attempted to use FaceTime over a cellular network, they were greeted with a prompt telling them to contact their operator to unlock the feature. This raised the issue of net neutrality, the belief that all types of internet traffic should be treated the same.
Verizon has since confirmed that it would include FaceTime in its data plans, unlike AT&T which will charge extra.
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