When AT&T (T) announced earlier this year that it would support FaceTime video calling on Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone over cellular data connections only for those customers who switched to new shared data plans, people were not happy. The backlash came fast and furious, and some advocacy groups questioned whether or not the new policy was legal. AT&T eventually buckled under the pressure and said users with any tiered data plan and an LTE-enabled device would be able to use FaceTime over cellular. The move was seen as a big step in the right direction, but AT&T confirmed that the many iPhone users with grandfathered unlimited data plans still would not be able to make FaceTime calls over cellular connections. As it turns out, however, AT&T may have quietly reversed that decision as well.
MacRumors reports that a number of AT&T subscribers with unlimited data plans are claiming FaceTime has been enabled on their iPhones. The users stated on forums and social networks including Twitter and Facebook that FaceTime over cellular was enabled without warning on Tuesday night.
BGR has confirmed on two iPhone 5 handsets tied to unlimited data plans that FaceTime has indeed been enabled. After rebooting the iPhones Wednesday morning, Use Cellular Data for FaceTime was activated and a test call connected successfully over AT&T’s LTE network. BGR has also learned that some iPhone 4S handsets have FaceTime over cellular enabled despite not being compatible with AT&T’s LTE network.
To check if FaceTime over cellular was activated on your handset, reboot and then browse to Settings > General > Cellular. Scroll down to see if the FaceTime toggle is now on — if it is, FaceTime will now work over cellular data connections.
As for what happens to subscribers who switched off of unlimited data plans or other less expensive options in order to have access to FaceTime over cellular networks, it remains unclear if the carrier will allow users to switch back.
An AT&T spokesperson did not immediately have a comment available.