We reported last month that it looked like AT&T was preparing to charge extra for users to use Apple’s FaceTime service over their cellular network. Today, AT&T has stated that they won’t actually charge extra – but they will limit the ability only to holders of their newest and most expensive plans.
An official statement provided to us from AT&T spells it all out:
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.
AT&T calls it an “added benefit” of their new Mobile Share plans. The reality of the situation, however, is that AT&T is blocking their users from taking advantage of FaceTime over cellular, in an attempt to bully them into signing up for AT&T’s new shared data plans.
So, what about users who are already paying for data? Screwed. Unlimited users? As usually, completely disregarded. Even users who are already paying for capped data are being told how they can and can’t use the data that they’ve paid for.
While this isn’t quite the same as charging extra to use FaceTime over cellular, it’s just as bad – and it does amount to being charged extra for many users. Anyone who doesn’t use a lot of voice minutes or send a lot of SMS messages will likely wind up paying more overall.
Apparently bullying unlimited data users isn’t enough for AT&T anymore. They’ve now moved on to bullying their capped data customers too. Shame. Yet another black mark in AT&T’s already horrifying record of abusing their customers.
On a related note, check out our new AT&T Fail tag – a full record of our coverage of AT&T’s utter lack of customer regard.
Verizon, here I come!