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Posted Aug 16, 2010
3:16:34 PM
iPhone 4, Wi-Fi, FaceTime and Cellular Service Suspenses
Edited by Tank Diver on Aug 16, 2010 at 3:24:38 PM

I havent had much luck finding any info on this, and I'm sure I'm not the only one going through this. I'm in the military and am about to embark on a deployment. AT&T does offer a service suspene free of charge and while I'm going to take advantage of that, I'm trying to figure out if I can still use Wi-Fi and the FaceTime feature while on my deployment. We will have Wi-Fi available at my deployed location as well.

 

AT&T tells me no, as they claim the entire phone will be bricked. They could not point to a reference anywhere where it says this.

 

Apple support says yes, that I can use Wi-Fi when abroad and with no cell signal.

So which is it?

For kickers, here's what my own tests have found out:

 

FaceTime works with Airplane mode on, Cell Data Disabled, and Wi-Fi enabled.

 

FaceTime does not work with SIM card out and Wi-Fi enabled, though all the other apps do.

 

FaceTime does work with SIM card out, Airplane mode on, and Wi-Fi enabled. (Weird to me.)

 

 

 

I refuse to pay for cell service while I'm abroad and am not going to use it. If it wasn't for the FaceTime feature that I find invaluable to use when I'm gone, I'd be using my iPod Touch in a heart beat.

 

Anybody with knowledge on this topic? Thanks!

I havent had much luck finding any info on this, and I'm sure I'm not the only one going through this. I'm in the military and am about to embark on a deployment. AT&T does offer a service suspene free of charge and while I'm going to take advantage of that, I'm trying to figure out if I can still use Wi-Fi and the FaceTime feature while on my deployment. We will have Wi-Fi available at my deployed location as well.

 

AT&T tells me no, as they claim the entire phone will be bricked. They could not point to a reference anywhere where it says this.

 

Apple support says yes, that I can use Wi-Fi when abroad and with no cell signal.

So which is it?

For kickers, here's what my own tests have found out:

 

FaceTime works with Airplane mode on, Cell Data Disabled, and Wi-Fi enabled.

 

FaceTime does not work with SIM card out and Wi-Fi enabled, though all the other apps do.

 

FaceTime does work with SIM card out, Airplane mode on, and Wi-Fi enabled. (Weird to me.)

 

 

 

I refuse to pay for cell service while I'm abroad and am not going to use it. If it wasn't for the FaceTime feature that I find invaluable to use when I'm gone, I'd be using my iPod Touch in a heart beat.

 

Anybody with knowledge on this topic? Thanks!

iPhone 4, Wi-Fi, FaceTime and Cellular Service Suspenses

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Aug 16, 2010 4:19:06 PM
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Wifi does work when in an airplane mode, even when your service is suspended wifi should work, and FaceTime should work as well as long as you are connected to wifi.
Wifi does work when in an airplane mode, even when your service is suspended wifi should work, and FaceTime should work as well as long as you are connected to wifi.
Written on my iPhone 4 32 GB

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Aug 16, 2010 4:35:10 PM
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Edited by dwill05 on Aug 16, 2010 at 4:35:53 PM

Does Facetime use the cell service for the voice and WiFi for the video?  THe fact that you can start a phone call normally and then initiate Facetime after being connected makes me think that you may have to have cell service for the voice part of Facetime.

Does Facetime use the cell service for the voice and WiFi for the video?  THe fact that you can start a phone call normally and then initiate Facetime after being connected makes me think that you may have to have cell service for the voice part of Facetime.

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Aug 16, 2010 7:35:22 PM
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Actually you can do FaceTime in airplane mode, all u need is wifi
Actually you can do FaceTime in airplane mode, all u need is wifi
Written on my iPhone 4 32 GB

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Aug 17, 2010 6:20:16 AM
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Edited by josephz2va on Aug 17, 2010 at 6:22:27 AM

I would wait for 4.1 to come out. There's a possibility of E-Mail FaceTime which links two phones together through it. Another is to install Fring if they enabled their video chats again, but 3G Video Chat would be seriously hammered as most areas only have 2MB speeds and a select few with 4MB speeds or the shy few with 7MB speeds. YouTube, Quicktime, etc choose the lowest grade quality and FaceTime more than likely would too. FaceTime does require a one minute call and then WiFi, but some have stated you can do WiFi afterwards but if they decline it'll be voice calls.

 

Your iPhone contract is currently setup for USA AT&T service. If you plan to go abroad, you need to modify your contract for International Roaming Charges usage for the iPhone. You can not use the iPhone outside the USA without enabling this or you get billed with several uncovered cell minutes.

I would wait for 4.1 to come out. There's a possibility of E-Mail FaceTime which links two phones together through it. Another is to install Fring if they enabled their video chats again, but 3G Video Chat would be seriously hammered as most areas only have 2MB speeds and a select few with 4MB speeds or the shy few with 7MB speeds. YouTube, Quicktime, etc choose the lowest grade quality and FaceTime more than likely would too. FaceTime does require a one minute call and then WiFi, but some have stated you can do WiFi afterwards but if they decline it'll be voice calls.

 

Your iPhone contract is currently setup for USA AT&T service. If you plan to go abroad, you need to modify your contract for International Roaming Charges usage for the iPhone. You can not use the iPhone outside the USA without enabling this or you get billed with several uncovered cell minutes.

Re: iPhone 4, Wi-Fi, FaceTime and Cellular Service Suspenses

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Aug 17, 2010 7:03:34 AM
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Kwopau wrote:
Actually you can do FaceTime in airplane mode, all u need is wifi

That surprises me. So how do you make the FaceTime connection to the other party if your cell service is turned off?


Kwopau wrote:
Actually you can do FaceTime in airplane mode, all u need is wifi

That surprises me. So how do you make the FaceTime connection to the other party if your cell service is turned off?

Re: iPhone 4, Wi-Fi, FaceTime and Cellular Service Suspenses

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Aug 17, 2010 9:51:37 AM
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josephz2va wrote:

I would wait for 4.1 to come out. There's a possibility of E-Mail FaceTime which links two phones together through it. Another is to install Fring if they enabled their video chats again, but 3G Video Chat would be seriously hammered as most areas only have 2MB speeds and a select few with 4MB speeds or the shy few with 7MB speeds. YouTube, Quicktime, etc choose the lowest grade quality and FaceTime more than likely would too. FaceTime does require a one minute call and then WiFi, but some have stated you can do WiFi afterwards but if they decline it'll be voice calls.

 

Your iPhone contract is currently setup for USA AT&T service. If you plan to go abroad, you need to modify your contract for International Roaming Charges usage for the iPhone. You can not use the iPhone outside the USA without enabling this or you get billed with several uncovered cell minutes.


Not to argue with you, but where have you seen that FaceTime charges a one minute call? I just turned off cellular data, turned on airplane mode with wi-fi enabled, and was able to FaceTime with somebody.

 

josephz2va wrote:

I would wait for 4.1 to come out. There's a possibility of E-Mail FaceTime which links two phones together through it. Another is to install Fring if they enabled their video chats again, but 3G Video Chat would be seriously hammered as most areas only have 2MB speeds and a select few with 4MB speeds or the shy few with 7MB speeds. YouTube, Quicktime, etc choose the lowest grade quality and FaceTime more than likely would too. FaceTime does require a one minute call and then WiFi, but some have stated you can do WiFi afterwards but if they decline it'll be voice calls.

 

Your iPhone contract is currently setup for USA AT&T service. If you plan to go abroad, you need to modify your contract for International Roaming Charges usage for the iPhone. You can not use the iPhone outside the USA without enabling this or you get billed with several uncovered cell minutes.


Not to argue with you, but where have you seen that FaceTime charges a one minute call? I just turned off cellular data, turned on airplane mode with wi-fi enabled, and was able to FaceTime with somebody.

 

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Aug 17, 2010 9:52:23 AM
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sandblaster wrote:

Kwopau wrote:
Actually you can do FaceTime in airplane mode, all u need is wifi

That surprises me. So how do you make the FaceTime connection to the other party if your cell service is turned off?


That's what I'm trying to figure out. I can FaceTime in Airplane Mode right now.

 

 


sandblaster wrote:

Kwopau wrote:
Actually you can do FaceTime in airplane mode, all u need is wifi

That surprises me. So how do you make the FaceTime connection to the other party if your cell service is turned off?


That's what I'm trying to figure out. I can FaceTime in Airplane Mode right now.

 

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Aug 17, 2010 10:05:50 AM
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ACE - Professor

Yep, facetime just uses wifi. When you first enable facetime it registers with the mother ship (Apple) and saves your phone number on their facetime server.

 

When you "call" someone with facetime, it's looking up their number in that server and then connecting to them (if they're on Wifi, and have Facetime enabled) to set up the call.

 

You may have trouble *receiving* a facetime call if your phone is in airplane mode and is "suspended" (ie, you've pressed the power button, not the "slide to power off" thing) since after a short period the iPhone will drop the wifi connection. In a normal non-airplane mode iPhone 3G data would be used to "wake up" the phone and try to establish the wifi connection again.

 

For outgoing Facetime calls it should always work fine on Wifi

Yep, facetime just uses wifi. When you first enable facetime it registers with the mother ship (Apple) and saves your phone number on their facetime server.

 

When you "call" someone with facetime, it's looking up their number in that server and then connecting to them (if they're on Wifi, and have Facetime enabled) to set up the call.

 

You may have trouble *receiving* a facetime call if your phone is in airplane mode and is "suspended" (ie, you've pressed the power button, not the "slide to power off" thing) since after a short period the iPhone will drop the wifi connection. In a normal non-airplane mode iPhone 3G data would be used to "wake up" the phone and try to establish the wifi connection again.

 

For outgoing Facetime calls it should always work fine on Wifi

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

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Aug 17, 2010 10:22:16 AM
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Just got off the phone with AT&T chat. They say it's only supposed to work domestically within the U.S and it DOES NOT use anything else, other than wi-fi; no cellular minutes are used. The chat rep said the phone knows where it is at via the cell network signal, called a tag.  However, when I asked the question about the phone being placed in airplane mode, they couldn't answer as to why or how FaceTime would work internationally.

 

 

Just got off the phone with AT&T chat. They say it's only supposed to work domestically within the U.S and it DOES NOT use anything else, other than wi-fi; no cellular minutes are used. The chat rep said the phone knows where it is at via the cell network signal, called a tag.  However, when I asked the question about the phone being placed in airplane mode, they couldn't answer as to why or how FaceTime would work internationally.

 

 

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Aug 19, 2010 9:04:00 AM
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Tank Diver wrote:

Just got off the phone with AT&T chat. They say it's only supposed to work domestically within the U.S and it DOES NOT use anything else, other than wi-fi; no cellular minutes are used. The chat rep said the phone knows where it is at via the cell network signal, called a tag.  However, when I asked the question about the phone being placed in airplane mode, they couldn't answer as to why or how FaceTime would work internationally.

 

 


I wish I could be of definitive help, but I can't. However, I tried to use Facetime on wifi from Eastern Europe last week and it didn't work. That said, I was on a VPN, and suspect that was part of the problem. Perhaps someone who knows more of the technical ins and outs of VPNs can chime in.

 

 


Tank Diver wrote:

Just got off the phone with AT&T chat. They say it's only supposed to work domestically within the U.S and it DOES NOT use anything else, other than wi-fi; no cellular minutes are used. The chat rep said the phone knows where it is at via the cell network signal, called a tag.  However, when I asked the question about the phone being placed in airplane mode, they couldn't answer as to why or how FaceTime would work internationally.

 

 


I wish I could be of definitive help, but I can't. However, I tried to use Facetime on wifi from Eastern Europe last week and it didn't work. That said, I was on a VPN, and suspect that was part of the problem. Perhaps someone who knows more of the technical ins and outs of VPNs can chime in.

 

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