Verizon Wireless to include FaceTime on all data plans

Nation's largest carrier will offer video-calling feature on cell networks at no additional cost, in contrast to AT&T's offering.

FaceTime on the iPhone.

Apple's iOS 6 will allow iPhone users to make FaceTime calls over a cellular network, and Verizon Wireless doesn't want to limit the video-calling feature.

The nation's largest carrier confirmed this evening that will make the data-intensive app available on all its data plans at no additional charge, including those still on unlimited data plans. The move was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Previously operational only on Wi-Fi networks, the app will work on cellular networks when the update to Apple's operating system is released on September 19.

The offering stands in contrast to AT&T, which announced last month it would make the popular video chat app available for use on its 3G and 4G networks, but only customers with its new Family Share plans would be able to access the feature over a cellular network. Consumer advocates criticized the move , accusing AT&T of violating the Federal Communications Commission's Open Internet rules.

While the offer may sound generous, Verizon isn't likely making the service available out of choice. So-called open access rules established as part of Verizon's purchase of the 700 MHz spectrum, which it's using to build its 4G LTE network, prohibit the carrier from restricting the usability of apps on the spectrum. The Federal Communications Commission has found Verizon in violation of the rules at least once, fining the carrier $1.25 million in July for blocking apps that allow people to use their 4G LTE smartphones as Wi-Fi hotspots.

Updated at 8:45 p.m. PT with Verizon confirmation.

About the author

Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. Before joining CNET News in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.

 

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