Apple lets 3G VoIP onto iPhone
Trio already there
Apple is now allowing VoIP-over-3G apps, after a change to the new beta version 3.2 of its iPhone SDK, released yesterday in concert with the announcement of Cupertino's long-awaited iPad.
In addition, VoIP-app developer WalkieTalkie VOIP (App Store link) says that their update is under review by Apple and will be released "shortly."
Market leader Skype didn't responded immediately to our requests for comment, but iCall CEO Arlo Gilbert said in a canned statement: "I applaud Apple's decision to allow iCall to extend its functionality beyond Wi-Fi and onto the 3G networks." Fring CEO Avi Shechter echoed that sentiment: "Fring users and our team alike are very excited that Apple Inc. have allowed independent iPhone VoIP applications over 3G networks."
And although their VoIP-over-3G service is available worldwide - as should be true for all such apps - an iCall spokesman reminded The Reg that its wise to check with your carrier, as support for the service varies.
AT&T announced last October that it would allow VoIP-over-3G service. After that announcement, an Apple spokeswoman told Cnet that Cupertino was "very happy" with AT&T's decision and that they would update its developer agreements to allow VoIP-over-3G support "as soon as possible."
Apparently, the announcement of the iPad, which offers 3G support as a $130 option, was the impetus Apple needed. Although it's unknown at this time whether the iPad will support VoIP-over-3G apps, Apple's software chief Scott Forstall said at yesterday's announcement event that the iPad will run "virtually all" iPhone software "virtually unmodified."
iCall, Fring, and Acrobits are not the only iPhone developer who have enhanced the phone capabilities of Apple's überpopular handset. Just this Tuesday, Google extended its Google Voice service to the iPhone - but not through the app that Apple has been "studying" since last September. Google's service is available instead through the iPhone's Safari browser at m.google.com/voice. ®
I can already place Skype calls over 3G ...
OK, I'm in the UK so don't have to put up with AT&T, et al, that the US do.
Using my MiFi (Wi-Fi to 3G router) from 3 I connect Skype over the Wifi connection, passing the VoIP packets along through my 3G connection. I have, hey presto, Skype over 3G.
I get 5Gb transfer for £15 a month on a rolling monthly contract, so no nasty lock-ins or expensive contracts.
Or am I missing the point?
This is interesting. In a recent Blog posting at http://blog.truphone.com, Truphone were pointing out that currently they only supported VoIP over 3G on Nokia handsets - all of their other products are WiFi only. They cited call quality as one reason why this was so, in addition to the "not all networks allow it" line.
I wonder if they'll change their mind on their iPhone App.
VoIP not Voice
VoIP is treated as data, not voice. Guessing EDGE is too slow.
Wondering why AT&T would agree to a plan that could ultimately eliminate revenues from voice services. Maybe they figure the technology is still too immature to pose a genuine threat? Even over a pretty good DSL connection VoIP is pretty laggy for me here in NYC.
Apple.com specs for iPad 3G clearly list "Data only" under 3G version specs, so does it even support voice?
VoIP only over 3G? what about VoIP over 2.5G (GPRS/EDGE) when 3G network is unavailable?
In fact that IS ALL that they will sell you. (29.99/month - unlimited - I think)