AT&T decides to offer FaceTime over cellular, but only on LTE devices with tiered data plans (update: sometimes on 3G)

Well, it's no secret that AT&T ruffled some feathers with its decision to make FaceTime over cellular available only to those on shared data plans. After what we can only assume was some deep soul searching, the carrier has shifted gears... a little. Now you'll be able to fire up the video chat app on your iOS 6 device over LTE, so long as you're on one of the new tiered data plans. If you're still rockin' one of those unlimited data plans -- or if you're unable to hop onto LTE due to device choice or locale -- you're still out of luck. The company explained the decision to initially limit the availability of the feature was due to the number of iPhones on its network. In other words, it didn't think its infrastructure was ready to handle a sudden surge of video calls. FaceTime over cellular will slowly become available to those on Ma Bell's tiered data plans over the next eight to ten weeks. For a few more details, check out the PR after the break.

Update: AT&T tells us that you don't need to be actively using LTE, just have a device that supports it. That's an odd way to partition customers, although it does mean that there's more of a safety net for areas where LTE isn't widespread.

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AT&T Expands FaceTime over Cellular Availability

Video Calling Feature To Be Made Available To LTE Customers on Tiered Data Plans & Deaf and Hard of Hearing Customers With Qualifying Plans

DALLAS, Nov. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- AT&T* today announced it will enable FaceTime over Cellular at no extra charge for iOS 6 customers with an LTE device on any tiered data plan. AT&T will also continue to offer FaceTime over Cellular to customers with any AT&T Mobile Share plan, as well as FaceTime over Wi-Fi, which has always been available for all customers. AT&T expects to roll out this functionality to customers over the next eight to ten weeks.

As part of its commitment to serving customers with disabilities, AT&T is also making FaceTime over Cellular available to deaf and hard of hearing customers who qualify for special text and data-only packages.

AT&T has more iPhone customers than any other U.S. carrier.
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