Tango: How to FaceTime over 3G on iPhone 4, Make Free Calls


One of the limitations of the iPhone 4’s FaceTime feature is that it’s restricted to WiFi. To make FaceTime calls over 3G requires a jailbroken iPhone and the installation of a tweak such as My3G. However, there is a way to make FaceTime calls over 3G without jailbreaking–it’s through the free app called Tango.

This video calling app has been out for just over a week now, but I didn’t get a chance to test it out until yesterday. Just prior to recording Episode 16 of The iPhone Podcast, I tested out Tango with my co-host Justin Luey.

Here’s what I observed right away:

  • Tango automatically populates people in your contact list that have the app (like how WhatsApp finds your friends)
  • Tapping a contact’s name called them right away and initiated a VOICE call first. I wish there was a confirmation before calling, as I have made accidental calls already.
  • To start a video call, you have to tap the ‘camera’ icon. You can swap between the front facing and rear camera on the iPhone 4
  • By tapping your thumbnail image during FaceTime, you can swap your image to the phone display and vice versa
  • Sound and video quality over 3G was excellent–no dropped call on our first test


Tango worked really well over 3G with our first test. I was impressed with the app. What is great about it is that you can use the app for free voice calls too, without video. So if you want to save on voice minutes or long distance, just call your Tango friends (or use Skype).

You can also make Tango calls with friends with Android devices such as the Droid or Nexus One. There’s also a way for you to invite friends via email/SMS right from the app.

For a free app that enables FaceTime over 3G, it’s a pretty decent start. Let me know how Tango works out for you over 3G!

Click here to download Tango (iTunes).


  • I’m assuming that this ONLY works over 3G and no Wifi option, otherwise why would it not be available for ipod touch 4g. Here are a bunch of new users for you who want to face-it with their android buds.

  • john

    Is it facetime or just video calling? When you initiate a voice call, is it using your cellular data or voip? How do you call people on ipod touches?

  • It’s not Facetime, it’s a third party app for video calling that works over 3G. It uses your data connection and no carrier minutes just like Facetime. It’s only compatible with the iPhone and Android smartphones (uses your phone number to identify you).

  • Thanks for the heads up. I’m going to give it a try, and pass it on to a couple of my buddies too.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve loaded the app and created my profile. I don’t have any friend using the app yet, apparently. However when I close it and then start it again it wants me to create my profile again. Any tips on saving the profile so I can just login each time?

  • Anonymous

    Used it myself last week myself with a friend on the west coast (I’m in Ottawa) with similar results. However, when the jailbreak for iOS 4.1 comes through I’m going to My3G FaceTime anyway.

  • Anonymous

    This is a common problem with the app. Hopefully they update it soon.

  • Swickedman

    How much data does this consume for voice calls per minute?

  • Amsterdave

    You shouldn’t call it FaceTime as it is not FaceTime… this will confuse (some) readers…

  • Anonymous

    Nevermind. I took my iPhone off of WiFi and it registered the account. The App works perfectly but will not work if you’re on WiFi, at least not in my corporate WiFi environment, just like FaceTime. Anyone get Tango to work on WiFi at home? Anyone solve FaceTime issues in a corporate environment?

  • Laserheart

    You shouldn’t say it “enables FaceTime over 3G” because it is not FaceTime by a long-shot, and this statement is extremely misleading!

    Better terminology should be “enables FaceTime-like functionality over 3G”.

  • Amsterdave

    Agree… wholeheartedly!

  • FaceTime is the video calling feature on the iPhone 4. This replicates that over 3G. Just enjoy the app already! 😉

  • You’re being picky.

  • Ok

  • FaceTime alternative.


    They download Tango.

  • geez guys, it might not be Apple’s “Facetime”. It does however do the SAME thing. Get over the fact that Gary called it Facetime… He called it Facetime to get a point across. Facetime = Video calling, Tango = Video calling… is nit picking over his wordage really that big of a deal?

  • +1

    It’s all good, people have their panties up in a bunch.

  • Mr. Speedy

    Gary you are both right, however I tend to agree with Laserheart on this because you can’t initiate or place a FaceTime call using Tango since it does not implement the FaceTime protocol. After I read and downloaded the app, I was expecting to be able to call anyone with an iPhone 4 or an iPod Touch 4, but this is not the case. The app needs to be installed and an account needs to be created by all for it to work. In this regard, the article is misleading. It is better when things are clear.

  • Mr. Speedy

    This is not being picky, it is being accurate!

  • The general idea is you can video chat over 3G.

    TUAW and a plethora of other iPhone/Apple blogs have a similar headline. I hope you guys go comment on their inaccuracies too! Let me know when you’re finished. 😉

    Enjoy Thanksgiving!

  • Fring is good for video calling over 3g too!

  • Anonymous

    Until Skype told them to get lost

  • TeenWolf

    Will this work on an iPod touch too? Anyone tried?

  • Xywix

    OMG THANK YOU!!…i only bought the new iphone so i can video chat over 3g when shopping for tampons for my girl!! that way i dont have to say them out loud and just show her wats available :p!

  • een

    Hey all,
    Semantics aside my wife and I added the app to our iP4s and they worked great over 3G.

    I was impressed with the quality of the image, all things considered, and the only thing we noticed is a lag. But that’s to be expected.

    Chalk this one up as a win…so far. 😉

    At least until FaceTime over 3G becomes active.


  • If this is for real, LMAO

  • I cant see how you would delete messages cept to edit them. am i wrong?

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  • Hero

    I have registered my overseas number in Tango instead of my canadian number. This allow my friends outside Canada to see me however, My son in Canada could not able to see my name on his contact list. I put back my canadian number enables my name to appear again on son’s contact list. Any idea why?

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  • Habj

    No people arent being picky lool… Clearly if you thought it was also FaceTime you would misinterpret you could contact other phone users on their FaceTime without them having to get the app

  • Habj

    No people arent being picky lool… Clearly if you thought it was also FaceTime you would misinterpret you could contact other phone users on their FaceTime without them having to get the app