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Apple continues to block 3G VoIP on iPhones

updated 11:00 am EST, Mon November 9, 2009

Reneging on promises?

Apple is still preventing the use of 3G VoIP on iPhones, according to observers. While Wi-Fi has always been an option for Skype and other iPhone VoIP apps, 3G calling has typically been blocked out of bandwidth concerns, and the potential for depriving cellphone carriers -- namely AT&T -- of voice revenue. In regions with unlimited data, 3G VoIP could effectively circumvent minute limitations.

Both Apple and AT&T have nominally agreed to lift VoIP restrictions, in light of growing political concern over US cellular practices. 3G remains inactive on several major VoIP services however, including Skype, Truphone and Fring. A spokesperson for another service, Nimbuzz, has accused Apple of outright breaking its promises by rejecting the introduction of 3G support to apps.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +11

    common carriers

    I'd like to see a cellular provider which acted like a common carrier. Just provide access to the spectrum and let ME decide how I want to use it.

    of course the incumbent cellular providers would crush anyone who tried to do this.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    Are we sure it's not carriers?

    Some time ago AT&T clearly stated that it wasn't them who was blocking Google Voice (or VoIP). They blamed Apple. Apple's response at the time was to promise quick approval of GV, but we haven't heard anything more concrete regarding VoIP over 3G.

    Is it possible that Apple is the one blocking, to make sure its only US carrier doesn't get overwhelmed to the point of deteriorating service so much as to tarnish iPhone's and Apple's image?

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    @vasic

    I think it's more likely that Apple agreed to be the bad guy and take the heat for AT+T.

    You should know damned well that the last thing the cellular service providers want is to allow their users to make VoIP phone calls. It would devastate their business models. At that point, they become a LOT like common carriers and then where's the big money in that?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    Re: @vasic

    You should know damned well that the last thing the cellular service providers want is to allow their users to make VoIP phone calls. It would devastate their business models. At that point, they become a LOT like common carriers and then where's the big money in that?

    Of course if would decimate their business models. What company doesn't try to preserve it's business model? h***, Apple wants to sell you computers, so they try to make sure no one else can make a computer that can run OS X. But we're all for defending Apple's decisions.

    If ATT had to open up their network, you can be sure they very first thing they'd do is raise their rates to a value that more matches their costs. Or do you think that a mobile broadband service actually costs half per month than what it costs Verizon or Comcast to deliver internet to your home?

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    400ms ping

    This whole discussion is pretty much pointless, given the unusable nature of the 350-400 millisecond latency you get on AT&T's 3G network for VoIP.

  1. shawnde

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Affects every country ...

    What's even worse is that the limitation has been extended to other countries. In Canada, Rogers/Fido do NOT have any limitations on VOIP apps using 3G, because their Data Plan is metered (6GB per month), and they actually have a half-decent network, yet I cannot use Skype on 3G on Rogers, because AT&T doesn't like Skype over 3G !!! It's absurd !!

    This was also true of tethering, but since tethering is a system preference, it was resolved, but apparently Skype makes the SAME application available on all the app stores, and it doesn't care which carrier you have; if you switch to 3G, it just stops making calls. It's outright stupid.

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