AT&T Finally Allows Skype Over 3G
Reverses stance after FCC starts sniffing around...
by Karl Bode 05:34PM Tuesday Oct 06 2009 Tipped by travelguy
If you recall, AT&T and Apple caused waves back in March for crippling Skype for the iPhone so that it would only work via Wi-Fi. Why? Having it work over 3G would present a threat to AT&T voice revenues, and treating Skype VoIP as just data (which it is) is thereby prohibited under AT&T's deal with Apple
. But with the FCC not only investigating AT&T and Apple's Google Voice ban -- but wireless industry competition overall -- AT&T has miraculously had a change of heart and will now allow iPhone Skype traffic over 3G
Previously, VoIP applications on iPhone were enabled for Wi-Fi connectivity...AT&T this afternoon informed Apple Inc. and the FCC of its decision. In late summer, AT&T said it was taking a fresh look at VoIP capabilities on iPhone for use on AT&T’s 3G network, consistent with its regular review of device features and capabilities to ensure attractive options for consumers.
By "fresh look," AT&T of course means they didn't want to get on the bad side of the FCC. As you might expect, Skype was quick to applaud
the about face this afternoon, while being sure to note how they believe the move shouldn't prevent new neutrality regs:
All of us at Skype applaud today's announcement by AT&T (in an FCC filing to be published shortly) 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.
The question now is, what happens to Google Voice? Apple and AT&T have so far claimed that they haven't banned the app -- they just haven't approved it yet. Why not? Apple says Google Voice "alters the iPhone’s distinctive user experience" by replacing the Apple user calling interface with its own.