- For the iPhone a short “call” was placed via the Mobile network to the other iPhone to see if the person you were calling was available, this used peoples Mobile Phone #. You then had a choice, answer as a regular voice call, or answer with Facetime. It then switched to WiFi for the video/sound data so it was “Free” from that point onwards. What wasn’t seen to the user was both phones were checking in the background “Do I have WiFi?” before presenting the Facetime option
- Apple then added the option for your Apple ID to be used which opened up Facetime to WiFi only devices such as the iPad, iPod Touch & people using iPhones with mobile roaming turned off. This gave more credence to the idea that Facetime was "Free".
Today with iOS 6 & 3G/4G Mobile Networks
With iOS 6 we now have the option of using Facetime via the faster 3G/4G networks - So does it cost money ? There are many options...
- The first thing to check is do you have iOS 6 on your iPhone (Settings --> About --> Version). If you are still using iOS 5, things work pretty much as above in the History section.
- If you are indeed using iOS 6 you have some options & your phone company has some options
- Your phone company may or may not choose to allow Facetime over their network, if they're blocking it, then it's still WiFi only so Free
- Some phone companies are charging extra to use Facetime, pushing people to Tethering plans, clearly that's a $$$ cost
- You have the option to turn on/off Facetime over 3G/4G with the setting "Use Mobile Data" or "Use Cellular Data" (see the screenshot below) - so you have the choice between Free & $$$
- If you are near a WiFi the phone will still hand off like before and not run up your mobile bill, figuring out if that's happening can be a little bit tricky
- Some Telstra info on iOS 6
- If you have a WiFi only device Facetime is still "Free"
- iPhone (or iPad with 3G/4G), with iOS6, and set Facetime - "Use Mobile Data" to Off = Free
- iPhone iOS6, "Use Mobile Data" = On = Data Usage if not near WiFi (potential $$$)
- If you have an Unlimited Data plan then there likely to be no problem
- If you have a 2GB / 5GB plan - keep an eye on your usage as you try it
- Less than 1GB (eg 200MB per month) - we would recommend turning off Facetime over 36/4G (see graphic below)