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New iPhone Gets VoIP Support

New iPhone Gets VoIP Support

Jason Mick

February 01, 2010

Apple began to ease its restrictions on VoIP apps last fall when it approved a Vonage app .  In October AT&T and Apple said that they would eventually be opening 3G data traffic to voice-over IP calls (initially approved apps like the Vonage app were crippled to only work over Wi-Fi connections).  AT&T, which cut its investment its capital costs (network investment) last year basically said its reasoning for banning the traffic for so long was not to try to control customers, but rather to protect its network from being overwhelmed.

Now, the new iPad/iPhone SDK, whose launch coincided with that of the new Apple tablet, has at last made good on this promise, reportedly opening up VoIP over 3G.  The company that broke the news, iCall, now has an updated app available that works with 3G.

ICall CEO Arlo Gilbert cheered the news, stating, “I applaud Apple’s decision to allow iCall to extend its functionality beyond Wi-Fi and onto the 3G networks. This heralds a new era for VoIP applications on mobile platforms, especially for iCall and our free calling model. I hope that now more developers will begin using our VoIP as a platform to integrate VoIP into their applications.”

Why is VoIP on the iPhone so promising?

Currently, iPhone voice plans from AT&T (in the U.S.) range from $39.99 for up to 450 minutes to $199.99 for up to 6000 minutes.  However, there’s a single flat rate $30 fee tacked on for data.  Coupled with Google Voice (which gives you free SMS) you could now use your VoIP apps to cut your monthly bill to around $79.99 a month with unlimited SMS texts and local and long distance calls (sans MMS texts). Of course, fees will likely inflate that figure slightly. [Source: AT&T]

AT&T and Apple were heavily criticized for dragging their feet with iPhone 3G VoIP.  After all, Blackberry phones on AT&T have had access to 3G VoIP for some time now.  Still, for iPhone owners looking to snag the best-selling smart phone at the lowest possible cost, the news of VoIP over 3G being turned on is better late than never.

© 2009, DailyTech

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