Amid speculation that AT&T may charge its iPhone users for running the video chat feature, FaceTime, over its cellular network, the carrier sent an official statement to CNET confirming that those who are on its Mobile Share plan will be able to access FaceTime without Wi-Fi, at no extra cost.
AT&T will offer FaceTime over Cellular as an added benefit of our new Mobile Share data plans, which were created to meet customers' growing data needs at a great value. With Mobile Share, the more data you use, the more you save. FaceTime will continue to be available over Wi-Fi for all our customers.
Unfortunately, customers who aren't on Mobile Share (someone who is on an individual plan, for example) will only be able to make FaceTime calls through a Wi-Fi network.
Back in June, Apple announced that its latest mobile operating system, iOS 6, would allow users to carry out FaceTime calls through a data network in addition to Wi-Fi.
Though questions were raised about how much data this feature would eat up, the new capability was met with general approval.
Although it's understandable that AT&T is putting user restrictions on FaceTime in an attempt to curb data usage, it's also easy to understand that customers who aren't going to be on the Mobile Share plan will be disappointed. Especially since Apple framed the new feature in June as a goodie, and AT&T is offering it as an "added benefit" to only a select few.
We've contacted Verizon Wireless to ask if it has similar plans in the works, and will update this story as soon as we hear back.