Last week we reported that AT&T quietly changed it’s requirements for cellular data plans in preparation to allow FaceTime on iPad and iPhone to work over cellular in response to demand for consumers. It’s been possible for a long time to chat with your family and friends over the Skype app on your iPhone or iPad, but ever since Apple made FaceTime a standard on their desktop and laptop OS, consumers have been demanding a way to use FaceTime over cellular.
AT&T and other carriers are offering the ability to perform free FaceTime calls over cellular, but the catch is they are requiring you to have a Mobile Share plan. This has led to reports and rumors wondering if the major carriers respective 4G LTE networks, are prepared to handle the surge of traffic and data being exchanged across the nation. 4G is all but 100% confirmed for the new iPhone 5, and since the iPad 3 already supports 4G, consumers are just waiting for iOS 6 to bring support for the new and liberating feature.
Assuming that like every past iPhone and iPad feature, customers take full advantage of their new liberties, bandwidth demand would spike dramatically over night. This isn’t the first time that people have questioned the capacity of the major networks in the US to handle new product and feature releases. As memory serves AT&T and others have frequently been plagued by problems during iPhone activation.
Time will tell whether the demand will be met, or whether carriers will crumple under the pressure. For now, long time consumers and new customers alike can look forward to their new iPads and iPhones supporting cellular FaceTime calls to their peers around the globe. With over 100 million iPhones sold in 2012 alone, and around 50 million iPads this year so far, carriers are hopefully doing everything they can to prepare.