AT&T: iPhone Users Can Now Use VoIP Over 3G


AT&T confirmed Tuesday that it will now allow VoIP applications on Apple's iPhone to run on AT&T's 3G network. The move is a complete reversal of AT&T's previous position on the subject and one that opens the door for VoIP services like Skype to make full use of AT&T's 3G wireless network.

AT&T, which informed Apple and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of its decision Tuesday, had in the past only allowed Internet phone services to run on iPhone over WiFi connections.
AT&T had allowed other devices its network supports to run VoIP applications over its 3G network, however.

Previously, AT&T had expressed concern that the 3G network couldn't handle the strain of running VoIP applications on the popular iPhone.

"IPhone is an innovative device that dramatically changed the game in wireless when it was introduced just two years ago," said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T's consumer and wireless unit, in a statement. "Today's decision was made after evaluating our customers' expectations and use of the device compared to dozens of others we offer."

The move by AT&T comes at a time of stepped-up regulatory scrutiny of the wireless industry, from the regulatory arguments for and against so-called Net neutrality, a contentious subject making the rounds on Capitol Hill, to the FCC investigating Apple for why Google's Google Voice VoIP application was rejected by Apple for iPhone use.

AT&T has continued to weigh in on the Google Voice mess as of late, as it previously told the FCC that it did not ask Apple to block Google Voice, but also said in late September that Google Voice violates federal communications laws.

The reversal by AT&T also comes the same day Verizon Wireless said it would not block Google Voice from two new Google Android-supported smartphones it has plans to launch.