Print 27 comment(s) - last by HrilL.. on Oct 7 at 5:49 PM

AT&T does the unthinkable and ungimps the iPhone

When it comes to VoIP on the iPhone, both Apple and AT&T have been quite restrictive with regards to what is made available to customers. Customers wishing to use VoIP programs like Skype on the iPhone have been relegated to using Wi-Fi instead of streaming data over AT&T's already fragile 3G network.

Perhaps the biggest battle came with the rejection of Google Voice. Apple flatly rejected the application citing that it would cause confusion with the existing phone features on the iPhone. Many people, however, believed that the snub came down directly from AT&T.

The block of cellular VoIP on the iPhone infuriated many considering that Blackberry devices running on AT&T networks have had access to such applications (including Google Voice). AT&T today even acknowledged the artificial iPhone blocks; "For some time, AT&T has offered a variety of other wireless devices that enable VoIP applications on 3G, 2G and Wi-Fi networks."

However, AT&T is looking to right its wrongs and has announced that VoIP traffic over 3G will be opened up for the iPhone. “IPhone is an innovative device that dramatically changed the game in wireless when it was introduced just two years ago,” said AT&T's Ralph de la Vega. “Today’s decision was made after evaluating our customers’ expectations and use of the device compared to dozens of others we offer.”

AT&T says that it has informed both Apple and the FCC of the change, so hopefully VoIP apps will begin to flow from the iTunes App Store. And hopefully, Google Voice may soon find it way to iPhone users.

Updated 10/6/2009
The president of Skype has just released a statement regarding AT&T's decision:

Since launching our iPhone application six months ago, people have downloaded and installed Skype on 10% of all iPhone and iPod touch devices sold - making it clear that people are extremely interested in taking Skype conversations with them on the go.

All of us at Skype applaud today's announcement by AT&T that it'll open up its 3G network to Internet calling applications such as Skype. It's the right step for AT&T, Apple, millions of mobile Skype users and the Internet itself.

Nonetheless, the positive actions of one company are no substitute for a government policy that protects openness and benefits consumers. We're all looking forward to further developments that will let people use Skype on any device, on any network.

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By quiksilvr on 10/6/2009 5:55:25 PM , Rating: 5
"Our 3G network couldn't handle all the iPhone users so we initially throttled the speed down to 3.6 Mbps. Two years later we are finally picking up the slack but we enjoy people paying obscene prices for our phone and data plans and don't want people to save money using VOIP. But now that this VOIP thing bit us in the ass, we gotta boost our PR and allow them to go through."

RE: Translation:
By invidious on 10/6/2009 6:12:29 PM , Rating: 2
Just be happy they haven't tried to impliment pay by the bit for VOIP protocols yet.

RE: Translation:
By dagamer34 on 10/6/2009 6:25:19 PM , Rating: 3
That would fly straight in the face of net neutrality and the FCC would smack AT&T so hard, even Verizon would feel it!

RE: Translation:
By Drag0nFire on 10/6/2009 7:28:50 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly, for $70+ per month per iPhone, it's hard to believe they wouldn't just shut up and let users do whatever they want.

RE: Translation:
By quiksilvr on 10/6/2009 7:56:21 PM , Rating: 1
Dear God $70 bucks? No wonder people are jailbreaking their iPhones to run on Tmobile. On Tmobile you can get 300 minutes with Myfaves, unlimited messaging (text, pic, video, IM, email) and 3G wireless for $60 a month.

RE: Translation:
By Myrandex on 10/7/2009 12:02:01 AM , Rating: 3
Sure they can...if they want dial up internet speeds & no visual voicemail. Thanks T-Mobile for using ANOTHER proprietary 3G band that no one else uses in the world (at least common enough for me to know about it). At least somewhere else in the world uses 850 (AT&T's main band), and 1900 and 2100 also also common, and you could've used those to make a nice more open network that I might've enjoyed to switch to.


RE: Translation:
By quiksilvr on 10/7/2009 3:02:54 AM , Rating: 2
I would like to know your sources for these claims.

RE: Translation:
By corduroygt on 10/7/2009 12:14:07 PM , Rating: 2
It's true, no one else uses the 1700 Mhz 3G band that T-mobile uses, what's even funnier is that their hardware is from Nokia, who have the most traditional quad band 850/900/1800/1900 handsets, as well as the new 2100 Mhz band.
Iphones on T-mobile use Edge at most, they don't have 3G.

RE: Translation:
By tayb on 10/7/2009 1:13:05 AM , Rating: 2
$70/month is just the base price and doesn't include messaging or GPS. If you add in unlimited messaging and GPS ,which I do because the data plans from Sprint and Verizon include messaging and GPS, the price of the iPhone per month comes out to $100/month BEFORE taxes.

AT&T - $100/month
Verizon - $80/month
Sprint - $70/month

Is the iPhone $720 better than anything Sprint has to offer? $480 better than anything Verizon has to offer? Probably one of the best phones out on the market but I'd rather go on a vacation and use the Palm Pre than stick with the iPhone for a full two year contract.

RE: Translation:
By sebmel on 10/7/2009 10:32:15 AM , Rating: 2
Well NOW there's a choice: Windows Mobile 6.5 is OUT!

And to such good reviews too:

Last week, here on DT, the regulars were bravely taking one for Steve, saying Ballmer is doing a GREAT job despite losing over half the capital value of the company, over $10 billion on the Xbox and several points of Windows Mobile market share. Well, those reviews show just how good!

RE: Translation:
By sweetsauce on 10/7/2009 1:58:01 PM , Rating: 2
Hey genius, you do realize that its still the same crap that 6.0-6.1 was, but with a few changes to make it somewhat bearable? If they fail with winmo 7 then i'll be right there with you venting, but until then don't expect a polished turd to be anything more than a turd. The look of the interface isn't bad, and that's all that matters for most consumers since they are retarded.

By corduroygt on 10/6/2009 6:22:41 PM , Rating: 4
1.5 years on my N95 and on my jailbroken iphone 3gs since June. Sometimes you get a lot of lag and other party hears you 3 seconds later though and it's best to hang up and call again. I'm also only paying $15/month for my data plan since it's been grandfathered from my N95.
Still, good to see official support.

By drunkenmastermind on 10/6/2009 7:00:38 PM , Rating: 1
Me too, Jailbroke Mountain. Cydia > voipover3g. Works like charm. Have an skype subscription from Japan to New Zealand, that means free international calls from my iPhone to any NZ landline :)

By PrinceGaz on 10/7/2009 1:33:28 AM , Rating: 2
That's all wrong though. Part of buying an iPhone or iTouch is the agreement that you should obey Steve's rules over what will run on His devices you have bought. Jailbreaking is evil and goes against everything Steve Jobs intended you do with His products. By jailbreaking your device, you are consorting with the devil (freedom to do what you want) and abandoning the trust to what is right that He (Steve) offered you when you purchased it.

By DuctTapeAvenger on 10/7/2009 10:07:50 AM , Rating: 2
If you jailbreak your iPhone, the terrorists win.

Please, think of the children!

By acase on 10/7/2009 10:17:28 AM , Rating: 3
Every time you jailbreak your iPhone, God masturbates a cat. Wait- how did that go again?

Wait a moment...
By chruschef on 10/6/2009 7:36:32 PM , Rating: 2
Did the president of skype just say that they're looking for a government policy to mandate the ability to use skype on all mobile devices?

that's ridiculous, they didnt create the iPhone and therefore have no right to say what they can and cannot do on the iPhone. That same policy goes for Google to, but as usual they knew that messing with google probably wasn't a fantastic idea.

... the one group of people Apple(and all companies) should really be accountable to are the consumers. i can pretty much guaranty that apple would let people use VoIP on their phones if consumers made a lot of "noise" about it.

RE: Wait a moment...
By SiliconAddict on 10/6/09, Rating: 0
RE: Wait a moment...
By leonowski on 10/6/2009 8:29:11 PM , Rating: 3
No. The President of Skype is implying that the policy of network neutrality is important to their business. I don't read anything in there that implies any more than that.

The issue at hand doesn't involve Apple. Skype has been running on iPhones for months now. The issue is with AT&T restricting usage of an Internet application over their 3G network. AT&T didn't create the Internet. So, they have no right to say what applications can run over the Internet. This is analogous to your argument about Skype/Google not inventing the iPhone. The issue here is with the network when it connects your device and application to the Internet, not the device itself.

Obviously, there are still hurdles to get Skype and other VoIP applications from working on any device. A government network neutrality policy will not punish a mobile device manufacturer because it doesn't have a microphone for VoIP. Again - remember that this is about what a device is allowed to do once it gets on the Internet.

Consumers ARE pushing for Network Neutrality as the policy favors the consumer.

By Source9 on 10/6/2009 10:15:47 PM , Rating: 2
AT&T shouldn't have the right to regulate what you use your data for on your data plan. It was all free and open till any company that wants to push a program on the phones that will cut into their money pocket gets axed.

How would you feel if you bought a car, then that car manufacturer said hey hey.. we don't mind you driving around blah blah blah.. but we are no longer allowing you to use Shell gasoline.

RE: Seriously
By HrilL on 10/7/2009 5:49:55 PM , Rating: 2
I pay At&t for unlimited data. That means unlimited data to be used how I want. They shouldn't be able to block some data because they don't like it. Unlimited means with NO limitations. If it has limitations then they should market it as such. Not the other way around.

In other news...
By gevorg on 10/6/2009 6:56:56 PM , Rating: 2
Google bitch slaps AT&T.

By lazylazyjoe on 10/6/2009 8:21:02 PM , Rating: 2
According to their website, if you sign up for their " Smartphone Personal" data only plan, you can talk all you want thru voip for only 35 a month? Do I have that right?

By Targon on 10/7/2009 6:50:10 AM , Rating: 2
The US Telephone system was heavily invested in by the US government when it was being deployed. As a result of this action, it makes sense that the phone lines SHOULD be opened up. The problem I have with the idea of forcing ISPs to open their lines for just ANYTHING is that when a company has to pay for infrastructure themselves, to a large extent they SHOULD have the right to disallow uses that would undermine their ability to make money off what they have to pay to maintain.

Has the government put money into the cell networks of AT&T, Verizon, or even cable lines? If the government has not been active in the deployment of services or in helping pay for the maintenance of said services, the government should NOT be saying what companies can or can not do with their equipment/services. People may feel this is not fair, but seriously, has GOOGLE, or Skype, or Vonage, or any other VOIP provider paid any money or will they pay money to let their product work on the equipment that has been fully paid for by a competing product?

The cellular environment HAS competition when it comes to phone service, so companies offering VOIP service(a direct competition) should be paying the carriers. Basically, I shouldn't lose money because someone decided they wanted to offer THEIR competing services using MY equipment. If you feel that Google, Skype, Vonage, or whoever should have open use of the cellular networks of private companies, then the government should be paying a HUGE percentage of the maintenance fees, or be paying for new massive rollouts of 3G, 4G, and 5G services to level the playing field between carriers.

here, here for openness
By mforce on 10/7/2009 7:00:00 AM , Rating: 2
Now if only Skype would show us a little openess of their own and open source the damn think or at least make the protocol open to all.
And no , that crap about security isn't going to work. Linux is open source and that doesn't make it less secure.

By drunkenmastermind on 10/6/2009 8:27:04 PM , Rating: 1
by any corporation or government then prepare for disappointment. Grab your iPhone by the balls, jailbreak that bitch and enjoy a host of logical functionality.

Too little too late ATT.
By SiliconAddict on 10/6/09, Rating: 0
"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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