Hey AT&T, I’ll Just Use Skype!

Déjà vu! It’s like 2010/iOS 4 all over again. A couple of years ago Apple updated iOS to include data tethering. This would allow you to use your iPhone’s data connection on another device like your laptop when you’re out and about. Not meant to be your main internet connection, but a nice plus for travelers that need to connect to the internet from their computers when there wasn’t any free WiFi hotspots available. Of course this was great unless you were an AT&T customer. Not only did it take AT&T forever to turn on this feature, but when they did they blocked it from existing customers that were grandfathered into their original unlimited data plans. They feared that all those users now tethering their laptops would bring the AT&T data network to its knees. They were probably right! In order to get tethering you had to be willing to leave your unlimited plan and sign up for a new Data Pro plan and pay extra for tethering.

Fast forward to iOS 6 in 2012

FaceTime with Seal

Apple announced that when iOS 6 comes out this fall that you’ll (finally) be able to use FaceTime over a 3G network. I never really understood why this wasn’t available sooner since there are so many Apps on the App Store that let you do this today. Nonetheless, its’ coming, but wait for it….once again AT&T is saying no no no to those of us who are on unlimited data plans.

Not only that, they’re saying no to everyone on any existing plan! If you want to use FaceTime over 3G you’re going to have to switch to their newly announced Mobile Share plans. This of course didn’t go over well with customers and AT&T all but admitted that they fear that FaceTime over their fragile 3G network would cause everyone harm.

Another reason I’m glad my New iPad is on Verizon

You might remember that when the New iPad came out that I switched from AT&T to Verizon for that device. Since then I’ve been enjoying tethering at no additional cost and I’ll likely enjoy FaceTime on it too over their fast (almost everywhere in the US) 4G LTE network.

I’ll Just Use Skype!

Skype call with Jason iPhone to iPhone over 3G

FaceTime is great and I’ve always wanted it on my 3G/4G network, but I’m grandfathered into a corporate unlimited data plan that my company won’t be changing anytime soon. FaceTime only works with Apple iOS devices and Macs. Skype works with Macs, iOS devices, Windows, and Android devices. It works today over both WiFi and 3G! This means that I can video call just about anyone I know for FREE TODAY! I don’t have to wait for iOS 6 and I don’t have to switch plans, carriers or anything else. Is it as nice as having video chat built-in to the OS and tied to a person’s phone number/email address? No, but it’s more pervasive and less restrictive, available today and works over AT&T’s 3G network (go figure).

Skype call with my buddy Bruce from my iPad to his Windows PC.

You can get Skype for your computer here.

You can get Skype for iPhone/iPod touch here
Skype - Skype Communications S.a.r.l

You can get Skype for iPad here
Skype for iPad - Skype Communications S.a.r.l

You can get Skype for Android here

  • John Smith

    Skype stinks. UI is terrible, video quality is markedly worse than Verizon.

    I’ll just get a Verizon iPhone next go ’round. And encourage my family and friends to do the same.

  • Jack Beckman

    I wouldn’t touch Skype until recently. Now that it’s run by Microsoft, and they’ve set up their own servers rather than use customers as their SuperNodes, I’m willing to use it, and so far, it’s worked pretty well.

    When my commitment to AT&T is up next year, I’ll be leaving for Verizon. Way to drive off a 10 year customer!

  • http://www.nickminore.com Nick Minore

    I agree Terry. I’m glad I took your advice and got my new iPad on Verizon.

  • Bryan Jordan

    I’ll use Zoom.us thank you.

  • Cheryl

    Please explain how you tether at no extra cost using Verizon. My previous experience was with a BB and my laptop and I had to download a special program and pay extra every month to tether. I don’t need it now with my iPhone and unlimited data but for emergencies it would be nice.

    • http://terrywhite.com Terry White

      The New iPad on Verizon 4G LTE has a Personal Hotspot feature. Verizon doesn’t charge any extra to use it. You buy a data plan that meets your needs and you can use the data how you please including tethering.