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Feb 3

Apple Permitting VoIP Calls over 3G Wireless Networks

On the heels of Apple's release of their iPad device, we are now learning that despite AT&T's announcement back in October, Apple has revised its SDK to allow VoIP calls over the data network. Support for VoIP over the data network is a significant change from Apple's previous agreement with AT&T, which only allowed VoIP communications over a Wi-Fi connection. This exciting departure from Apple's previous position now allows VoIP calling applications to expand beyond a Wi-Fi only connection and into the 3G cloud. It appears that pressure from the FCC over net neutrality may have contributed to AT&T's decision to change its policy and open up the 3G network for VoIP based calling applications.


So what does this mean to the consumer? Applications like Skype, Fring and other third party applications, which are available for free download on the App Store, now have greater reach and utility beyond the Wi-Fi network. Many of these applications offer free, low cost, and even ad-sponsored calling plans giving the mobile consumer greater choice and selection for local and long distance calling by allowing voice calls to take place on the data network rather than the metered voice network.


With AT&T's data network already saturated in areas like San Francisco and New York, this change will certainly drive data consumption. Perhaps AT&T could use some of their recently reported US$3 billion in net income for the fourth quarter of 2009 (up nearly 26 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008) to help improve their network as our appetite for mobile data will only continue to grow.