You can’t currently start a FaceTime video chat from an iPad, iPod touch or iPhone using a 3G network; Apple still requires that users are logged in to a Wi-Fi network, likely to make sure that a minimum level of video quality can be guaranteed. A new warning message inside iOS 5.1.1, discovered by iDevice recently, suggests that 3G FaceTime support will be enabled in the future, however.
If a user first places a FaceTime call over a Wi-Fi network and then switches off the “enable 3G” option within iOS’s Network settings menu, an alert pops up stating that doing so could end the FaceTime call. “Disabling 3G may end FaceTime,” the warning says, specifically. “Are you sure you want to disable 3G?”
A similar message also pops up when a user tries to enable 3G during a Wi-Fi call, AppleInsider discovered. “Enabling 3G will end your phone call. Are you sure you want to enable 3G,” the warning message states.
Oddly, selecting either option never ended AppleInsider’s test FaceTime calls. You just can’t place a call if you’re only on a 3G network. Wireless carriers reportedly asked Apple to disable support for 3G video calls, likely to prevent bandwidth hogging, and only jailbroken phones are capable of executing the feature. It’s possible Apple and wireless carriers will enable the function when a 4G LTE-enabled iPhone is released, or perhaps 3G support will be activated sooner.