updated 08:55 am EDT, Fri July 29, 2011
Verizon may hold up FaceTime on 3G
Verizon may be obstructing the adoption of FaceTime on 3G based on attempts to force more users into its capped data plans. Although the FaceTime experience on 3G is said to be working well, Apple and the carrier are believed in a dispute over which Verizon users are allowed to get access. Apple is said by 9to5 to want everyone to have access, but Verizon supposedly wants only those on limited tiers to get the video calling feature away from Wi-Fi.
The Verizon argument reportedly centers on limiting the overall consumption, which it fears could go overboard if unlimited users signed on. Questions exist over whether that's necessary, since only legacy customers will qualify and thus leave a smaller subset of owners with unrestricted access. Many apps consume as much or more than FaceTime as well and render the argument somewhat moot.
No matter the solution, the call quality is "fairly good," according to those who've tried it. In spite of the reduced bandwidth of Verizon's 3G, an improved FaceTime infrastructure has kept up much of the quality.
Apple is known to have flags in iOS 5 that would let it selectively enable FaceTime 3G depending on the carrier, and it may follow a pattern similar to those for tethering and other features on AT&T. Many carrier-dependent features have often been available immediately in most other countries outside of the US but have often been stalled in the US due to much more conservative policies.