The official iPhone 5 announcement yesterday drew mixed responses from people who witnessed the event live or read about it online. Despite the fact that iPhone 5 is more evolutionary than revolutionary, it does come with a neat set of new features. A desperately awaited feature has been FaceTime over cellular networks. Apple announced yesterday that iPhone 5 will support FaceTime over Cellular. Today the top three cellular networks in the US have confirmed that they will indeed be supporting FaceTime over their data networks for iPhone 5.
FaceTime was revealed for the very first time when Apple announced iPhone 4. Instantly this service became a huge hit as well as one of the major reason due to which customers picked up new iPhone 4 units like crazy. FaceTime is Apple’s own video calling solution and it works as a neat replacement for Skype. The only caveat being that FaceTime calls can only been made between compatible iOS and Mac devices. The service is quite popular and has since then made its way over to the iPod touch, the iPod as well as Mac computers. Initially FaceTime over cellular networks was not allowed by Apple but now all that is about to change for good.
It was believed that the only reason Apple hadn’t allowed FaceTime over cellular in the first place is because the mobile networks Apple partnered with for iPhone were not open to the idea of their data networks being used for video calling. It goes without saying that video calling needs a substantial amount of data, with millions of iPhones being sold every quarter, it would have put a lot of strain on mobile networks’ data infrastructure.
However a workaround was found for this restriction. If an iPhone was jailbroken, a package available from the Cydia store could easily enable FaceTime over any mobile network around the world. Those users who did not have their iPhones jailbroken obviously could not do this. Now it is good to see that Apple has finally worked out things with mobile networks and has allowed FaceTime calls to be made over cellular networks.
AT&T, Verizon Wirless and Sprint are the three biggest mobile networks in USA. All of them have now confirmed that they will be supporting said feature on their respective networks. AT&T has gone so far as to be the first network to announce their plans for supporting this new iPhone 5 feature. Other networks have only confirmed their participation right now, but word on their plans won’t be too far off now.