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Apple Confirms FaceTime Video Calling Will Not Use Cellular Minutes

Silicon Alley Insider reports that Apple's FaceTime video calling feature coming on iPhone 4 will not tap into customers' allotments of cellular minutes. Although the feature operates only over Wi-Fi for the time being, a FaceTime session can be initiated from within a phone call, leaving some observers wondering whether the phone connection would be maintained in the background as a fallback in case the video call fails, but eating up cellular minutes while doing so.

"The voice call ends as soon as the FaceTime call connects," Apple tells us. "The FaceTime call is over Wi-Fi so does not use carrier minutes."

Apple CEO Steve Jobs noted during his introduction of iPhone 4 and FaceTime at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month that the company will be working with carriers to allow FaceTime over cellular networks but that it will remain Wi-Fi-only at least through the end of the year.

Once the feature does go live on cellular networks, today's report points out that Apple and service providers will have to determine whether FaceTime sessions are billed as minutes, data, or both, or even a completely new category of consumption.