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AT&T To Allow VoIP Calls On iPhone Over 3G

US network operator AT&T has made significant changes in its policy and confirmed that it would now let Apple iPhone users to make voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calls using various popular services including Skype and Vonage, on its network.

Initially, AT&T had prohibited the proposed iPhone internet telephony applications from its networks, claiming that the cheaper calls would belittle the network operator’s efforts on subsidising iPhone costs for its users.

AT&T said it has already informed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Apple of its decision of allowing VoIP applications on its networks.

Incidentally, the FCC launched a probe into Apple’s decision of rejecting the use of Skype on AT&T’s 3G networks, with the network operator admitted to being behind that crucial decision.

Ralph de la Vega, AT&T’s chief of mobility and consumer markets, said in a statement, "Today's decision was made after evaluating our customers' expectations and use of the device compared to dozens of others we offer".

The news paves the way for other services like Google’s Voice app as well as the other third party apps to run on the blockbuster iPhone.

The move would presumably put pressure on other network operators to enable unlimited voice calls from their networks (ed: and also offer cheaper international calls).

Although most of the operators do offer VoIP services, they tend to limit bandwidth and spoil users experience to a great extent.

Our Comments

We don't know whether AT&T decision was due to pressure from the FCC or Apple or both. One thing is sure, AT&T is unlikely to have allowed VoIP on its network by its own since there's no financial benefit from doing so. Actually, VoIP is a resource hogging (and therefore expensive) feature. Will O2 follow suit?

Related Links

AT&T to allow VoIP iPhone apps on 3G network

(CNet)

AT&T now supports iPhone VoIP over its 3G network

(Computerworld)

AT&T allows VoIP calls on iPhone

(ComputerWeekly)

AT&T to allow VoIP calling on iPhone

(Pocket-Lint)

AT&T makes iPhone U-turn

(Financial Times)

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.