AT&T: FaceTime problems on GoPhone 'technical in nature'

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Some GoPhone customers with AT&T's new unlimited plan have complained that the service doesn’t support FaceTime use on the operator’s network.

AT&T said a technical “glitch” is to blame for problems its GoPhone customers with new unlimited data plans have when trying to use Apple’s FaceTime on its cellular network.

The nation’s second-largest carrier launched a $60-a-month “unlimited” data plan last week for users of its prepaid GoPhone service, which includes talk, text and data, but caps speeds at 3 Mbps. The move was another salvo in an escalating war between carriers that began when Sprint and T-Mobile introduced unlimited plans in August and has recently spilled over into the prepaid market.

But some GoPhone customers with the unlimited plan have complained that their new service doesn’t support FaceTime use on the operator’s network, PrepaidPhoneNews reported on Wednesday. Users have taken to message boards such as Reddit and AT&T’s own community forum to report that when they try to launch FaceTime using the cell connection, they get a message informing them to use a Wi-Fi connection rather than cellular.

Earlier this week, AT&T declined to say why Apple’s video-calling app isn’t available to at least some customers, but this morning a spokesperson said technical wrinkles are still being ironed out. “The glitch is technical in nature,” the carrier said via email. “We’ve resolved the issue for the small number of customers who’ve contacted us, and are proactively working to repair the issue for others.”

Like many other so-called unlimited plans, the GoPhone offering comes with some noteworthy restrictions: In addition to the capped speed, video is limited to 480p at a maximum speed of 1.5 Mbps, and data rates are slowed for users who surpass 22 GB of usage a month during periods of network congestion. Whether those limitations might be a factor with the FaceTime problems still isn’t clear.