Is AT&T’s FaceTime Turnaround Here to Stay?

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AT&T (NYSE:T) has reportedly activated Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) FaceTime over cellular for all subscribers using LTE-capable devices, including those on grandfathered unlimited data plans. While the carrier has not made an official announcement regarding the change yet, the news was reported by Apple blog MacRumors.

When AT&T first announced that it would limit FaceTime video conferencing to Wi-Fi, customers protested the decision and several consumer agencies threatened to take the carrier to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. While AT&T claimed it was in compliance with FCC policies at the time, earlier this month, the company announced it would open the feature up to those who were on an LTE-equipped device and had a Mobile Share data plan.

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Rivals Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and Sprint (NYSE:S) started offering the feature without limitation over their respective 4G networks along with the launch of Apple’s iOS 6 in September.

“AT&T has by far more iPhones on our network than any other carrier,” the operator’s public policy chief, Jim Cicconi, wrote in a blog post earlier this month. “We’re proud of this fact and the confidence our customers have in us. But it also means that when Apple rolls out new services or changes, as it did in iOS 6, it can have a much greater, and more immediate, impact on AT&T’s network than is the case with carriers who have far fewer iPhone users.”

If this latest change is permanent or an experiment remains to be seen.

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