updated 03:57 pm EDT, Mon May 20, 2013
FaceTime, Google Hangouts primary beneficiaries of new policy
AT&T has made a statement regarding the future of video chat applications on its LTE network. According to the telecom company, all "pre-loaded video chat apps" will be available for all of its wireless customers "regardless of data plan or device" by the end of the year. The move is a turnaround from previous decisions by the company to prohibit use of FaceTime and now Google Hangouts chat on mostly grandfathered unlimited data plans.
Currently, FaceTime is only available on users who have adopted one of the various family share capped data plans. FaceTime was available briefly over one weekend for all, including unlimited users, but access was quickly blocked when AT&T discovered the "problem."
AT&T says in the statement that "for video chat apps that come pre-loaded on devices, we currently give all OS and device makers the ability for those apps to work over cellular for our customers who are on Mobile Share or Tiered plans. Apple, Samsung and BlackBerry have chosen to enable this for their pre-loaded video chat apps. And by mid-June, we'll have enabled those apps over cellular for our unlimited plan customers who have LTE devices from those three manufacturers."