AT&T has always been hesitant to allow customers to use video chat applications on its cellular network. The company previously blocked Apple’s FaceTime service from iPhone devices, only recently allowing customers on a tiered data plan to use the feature. AT&T further angered customers when it blocked Android users from using the video chatting feature in Google’s new Hangouts application unless connected to a Wi-Fi network. In a statement given to The Verge, the carrier confirmed that it will update its controversial policy later this year and will enable preloaded video chat applications over its cellular networks for all customers, regardless of their data plan or device. AT&T’s statement follows below.
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.
Throughout the second half of this year, we plan to enable pre-loaded video chat apps over cellular for all our customers, regardless of data plan or device; that work is expected to be complete by year end.
Today, all of our customers can use any mobile video chat app that they download from the Internet, such as Skype.