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AT&T To Allow VoIP On iPhone

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the writing-on-the-wall dept.

Communications 220

Toe, The writes "On Tuesday, AT&T announced it will allow Apple to enable Voice over Internet Protocol applications, such as Skype, to run on its 3G wireless data network. Apple stated, 'We will be amending our developer agreements to get VoIP apps on the App Store and in customers' hands as soon as possible.' And Skype, while happy over the move, also stated, 'the positive actions of one company are no substitute for a government policy that protects openness and benefits consumers.'"

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About time. (3, Insightful)

base3 (539820) | about 5 years ago | (#29668631)

Nice to see the robber barons on the run from the administration and the public instead of on the run for once.

Re:About time. (4, Insightful)

aicrules (819392) | about 5 years ago | (#29669091)

I do not understand

Re:About time. (2, Interesting)

y86 (111726) | about 5 years ago | (#29669113)

I hope your right, but me thinks AT&T will just shape traffic so VOIP doesn't work well al la Comcast torrenting.

But if you can't wait... (4, Informative)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | about 5 years ago | (#29668639)

Just jailbreak your phone and use Voipover3G []

It's super easy and it has saved me lots of overage $$$$

Re:But if you can't wait... (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | about 5 years ago | (#29668773)

My GF is in China it costs $0.021/min to call her, I've spent $20 over the last 4 months on Skype minutes. I don't even what to know how much that would have cost me if i went through AT&T

Re:But if you can't wait... (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 5 years ago | (#29669017)

You might want to check out my current VoIP provider, Vonage. They're offering a plan that includes unlimited calls to over 60 countries [] when you sign up for a one year contract for $24.99 a month. I believe China is included in the 60 countries, but I can't link it since there seems to be something wrong with their website at the moment. Anyway, seems like it would be a good deal for you.

Re:But if you can't wait... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 5 years ago | (#29669047)

(Disclaimer: I do not work for Vonage, nor do I own any Vonage stock and I do not represent them. I'm just a happy customer.)

Re:But if you can't wait... (4, Insightful)

socsoc (1116769) | about 5 years ago | (#29669071)

I don't really see how $24.99 per month is a better deal than $20 over four months

Oh sure, for just one.. (4, Funny)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 5 years ago | (#29669129)

If you have 60 women friends in 60 countries, it saves money.

Re:But if you can't wait... (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 5 years ago | (#29669183)

With the $25 a month, you get unlimited calls to the U.S and most of the rest of North America, plus a phone router, plus a real phone number with voicemail, caller ID, free incoming calls, 3-way calling, etc., etc., a bunch of stuff you don't get with Skype.

Plus he wouldn't have to budget his time on the phone, he can talk all he wants and not worry about how much it's costing him.

And like the other guy said: if he were a studly man with 60 girlfriends in 60 countries, that would save him a bundle. :-P

Re:But if you can't wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29669253)

plus a phone router, plus a real phone number with voicemail, caller ID, free incoming calls, 3-way calling, etc., etc., a bunch of stuff you don't get with Skype.

Since the guy is clearly paying for Skype, he WILL have... a real phone number with voicemail, caller ID, free incoming calls, 3-way (or more) calling.

Re:But if you can't wait... (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | about 5 years ago | (#29669157)

If GP paid $20 over 4 months, that is $5/mo. How is $25/mo a good deal?

Re:But if you can't wait... (1)

sxpert (139117) | about 5 years ago | (#29669255)

the day they will allow using any sip client instead of only their configured pap2t device... progress will have been made

Re:But if you can't wait... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29669555)

Is there a sensible reason why you call her on a POTS connection, and don't get her to install a VoIP app at her end?

Re:But if you can't wait... (1)

flosofl (626809) | about 5 years ago | (#29669741)

I'm guessing because Skype is to China as Fire is to Frankenstein's Monster.

Seriously, I'm pretty sure citizens in China can't have Skype installed on their computers due to the encryption or some such thing.

Re:But if you can't wait... (1)

j0se_p0inter0 (631566) | about 5 years ago | (#29669835)

Skype worked fine when I lived in China. And their "Great Firewall" was easily bypassed by my "Great Proxy".

Re:But if you can't wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29669901)

Get VOIP from CallCentric and China Proper and China Mobile are only $0.0165

Re:But if you can't wait... (1)

muffen (321442) | about 5 years ago | (#29668827)

Don't forget backgrounder if you have a jailbroken phone and want to run Skype over 3g. Works quite well although you get the occasional crashes.

Re:But if you can't wait... (1)

King_TJ (85913) | about 5 years ago | (#29669681)

Good to know about that one. Thanks!

But as someone who played with jailbreaking for quite a while, I'd also caution people not to necessarily delve into it, if the Skype option will work for you too, and you're just impatient to start using it on the AT&T network.....

Jailbroken iPhones are a bit like running commercial software you cracked with some "patcher" program. They might work just fine at the time you do it, but you've started on a journey of regular "cat and mouse" games of updates breaking your jailbreak, waiting and searching around for updated fixes, downtime spent re-applying them, etc. It may well be worth it, too .... but there's definitely an increased level of time commitment there, keeping it working.

  Also, though I can't speak for the current situation, in the past - I had more issues with sluggishness and instability with my jailbroken iPhone, mostly due to so many people trying to code apps for it to do things Apple never officially allowed. You had programs that were clearly "beta quality" launching background processes that used up CPU time, etc. etc. It was a lot of fun to tinker around with ... but in the end, my cellphone number is also the main number for my side business. It's not worth potentially losing calls and customers if my iPhone is "down". So I went back to the official OS updates.

Bad deal for AT&T (3, Informative)

nweaver (113078) | about 5 years ago | (#29668653)

This is a very VERY bad deal for AT&T: VoIP is less efficient than the dedicated cellphone protocols in bandwidth usage, AND AT&T makes less money on data packets over voice packets.

I think this says just how important the iPhone and iPhone users have become to AT&T that they'd even consider this.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (5, Insightful)

base3 (539820) | about 5 years ago | (#29668673)

More like how important it is to AT&T not to have network neutrality codified into regulation. This move is only to mollify the FCC and get them off their backs so they can still double-dip by charging companies running popular sites for "preferential" (read non-degraded) access to AT&T subscribers.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | about 5 years ago | (#29669151)

I am on board for Network Neutrality, but I have a hard time blaming the company whose network takes over a minute to email a 1.3mp image. I really don't see how it would handle VOIP and if my emails start taking 10 minutes to go through, I am gonna be pissed and switch carriers.

I think expanding network neutrality arguments to cell networks is a little over-reaching.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (2, Insightful)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | about 5 years ago | (#29669517)

Perhaps instead, the specifics of Network Neutrality enforcement should be amended to make more sense. As you suggest, unrestricted free VoIP over 3G might cause your web and e-mail mobile experience to suffer. However, AT&T is free to charge customers using more bandwidth more money, if this becomes a problem. Even if the FCC decides to allow AT&T to perform traffic shaping to help average users have more responsive network access, the FCC should still require AT&T to practice non-discrimination against packets based on source or destination. AT&T should never be allowed to extort fees from content providers for access by AT&T's customers, regardless of what physical form the network takes.

AT&T wants to hold onto the big cash (5, Informative)

Michael G. Kaplan (1517611) | about 5 years ago | (#29669173)

More like how important it is to AT&T not to have network neutrality codified into regulation. This move is only to mollify the FCC and get them off their backs so they can still double-dip by charging companies running popular sites for "preferential" (read non-degraded) access to AT&T subscribers.

AT&T is trying to mollify the FCC so that they can maintain multiple other abusive practices that would be eliminated if the same network neutrality standard that is applied to wired connections is applied to the cell phone networks. The wireless providers don't want to become mindless providers of bandwidth.

-They want to be able to charge $0.20 for each text message.

-They want to force you to purchase a phone from them. They will justify their high rates by explaining that they are subsidizing your phone but even after you've paid off your phone after 1-2 years they will still force you to pay the same inflated rate. If you leave the network you can't take your phone with you because the phone YOU paid for is locked to their network.

-They want to be able to force you to purchase a data plan with certain WiFi phones.

-They want to continue to cripple phones that offer highly desired features unless they can charge for them (e.g. gps chips are common in cell phones but users are not allowed access to the information unless you give the wireless provider cash).

The list goes on and on. I hope that the American public and the FCC isn't fooled by this bone that AT&T tossed our way.

Re:AT&T wants to hold onto the big cash (1)

Zantac69 (1331461) | about 5 years ago | (#29669299)

Amen to this!

I am trying to decide what to do with my cell service as it is - its nuts that my wife and I (who brought our own phones to AT&T because we like our unlocked international phones) pay inflated monthly bills to subsidize phones we didnt get. That - in combination with the other BS charges that are on our land line for things we dont use - has my ass chapped. I hope and pray (well I would pray if I prayed) that the FCC busts AT&T and the other cell providers in the teeth for that bullshit.

Wait - what am I saying? Nothing will happen. I hope I am proven wrong.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (2, Insightful)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | about 5 years ago | (#29669259)

Agreed. As other posters point out, they'll probably traffic-shape VoIP into a useless protocol over 3G. What I care more about is VoIP over my phone's WIFI. It's my freaking phone, and my WIFI and internet connection, and AT&T doesn't even work inside my house. Yet AT&T and Apple wont let me run software that already exists for the iPhone to solve this problem.

There is some sort of new software freedom needed here. If an iPhone were a closed system, like the iPod Nano, it would be unreasonable for the government to force Apple to support developers. However, the iPhone is programmable. What's new here is how Apple regulates software that can run on the computers their customer's buy (an iPhone is a computer). I think companies should be barred from limiting what programs I run on any generic programmable computer I own. Any computer where programmers are encouraged to create 3rd-party software should have the ability to run such software without interference from evil companies. This freedom could be stated as:

        Freedom to run applications of my choosing on computers I own, so long as they do not interfere with the rights of others.

Such a right should be guaranteed, right along with other fundamental network neutrality rules, like non-discrimination based on source or destination of packets.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (2, Interesting)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 5 years ago | (#29669543)

You do have this freedom with the iPhone. Apple does not make it easy, they don't support or sanction it. But it is possible.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (1)

slack_justyb (862874) | about 5 years ago | (#29669297)

More like how important it is to AT&T not to have network neutrality codified into regulation.

This is incredible true for most industries. It's a shame to see how most people miss this as being a huge point in turns in an industry. The liquor industry had an unspoken rule of not advertising directly on television for quite sometime. They didn't want any government entity jumping up and down mad and threaten regulation. It wasn't until the middle 90's that a couple of liquor companies actually tried advertisements on television. A couple of states filed objections to the FCC about the commercials but in the end no one really cared that they were advertising liquor on TV. However, liquor companies still tread with caution when it comes to this media, you'll always see beer commercials out number liquor commercials three/four to one . Ultimately they don't want to end up like tobacco and television.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (5, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | about 5 years ago | (#29669335)

Or the fact that the capitalist economy does indeed self regulate.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (5, Insightful)

Carewolf (581105) | about 5 years ago | (#29669545)

Or the fact that the capitalist economy does indeed self regulate.

.. when threatened with government intervention.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29669841)

Or the fact that the capitalist economy does indeed self regulate.

If that's true, then why do we still have recessions? Capitalism is the dominant US religion, it seeems. It has its own foibles and follies that are completely invisible to its worshipers.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (2, Insightful)

MistrBlank (1183469) | about 5 years ago | (#29668723)

Don't worry they'll packet shape it into oblivion and turn around and blame google or skype for the crappy quality citing exactly what you state.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (1)

vxvxvxvx (745287) | about 5 years ago | (#29668887)

Google doesn't have a VOIP service.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (2, Informative)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | about 5 years ago | (#29668965)

Its called google voice.. and yes it is a voip service, but its initiated via an analogue connection (atleast for iphones using gvoice).

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (2, Informative)

Wireless Joe (604314) | about 5 years ago | (#29669137)

For the purposes of this discussion, Google Voice is not VOIP [] . It uses regular cellular minutes, not your data connection.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (1)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | about 5 years ago | (#29669511)

You are correct, for the purpose of this conversation gv is not really a voip. The OP I responded to should have stated that GV is not a traditional voip provider, but they made a blanket statement, which is incorrect, GV is a voip service, but it still uses minutes.

Aside from that, I suspect thats not the part that scares ATT, I suspect its the SMS aspect that has ATT's panties in a bunch.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (1)

DarthStrydre (685032) | about 5 years ago | (#29669593)

Then you're doing it wrong. Google Voice supports Gizmo clients.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (4, Informative)

Sandbags (964742) | about 5 years ago | (#29669787)

Google voice is not VoIP, it is a VRU.

It handles hunt groups, caller ID data manipulation, DTMF code transforms, voice response, and DTMF tone response. It's a glorified call router (actually, its a higly SIMPLIFIED call router, barely using a fraction of the functions of a true VRU), but by itself it is NOT a VoIP service.

Yes, it CAN route a call to and from an existing VoIP service, like Gizmo, but it does not place calls via SIP itself directly, it only initiates and received calls from other existing SIP extensions and numbers, and can not be substituted in place of Gizmo. It uses your Gizmo number and requires a gizmo client.

The Google Voice App is simply an IP based system for communicating to the VRU to cause it to initiate calls, and to manage voicemail, account settings, and contacts. That's it.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (2)

whoop (194) | about 5 years ago | (#29669863)

The Internet uses IP. Google is on the Internet. Google Voice uses voices. Therefore, Google Voice is Voice over IP.

For a technical crowd, the folks here haven't been able to wrap their head around just what Google Voice is. Every story that comes up (especially the GV Iphone app store thing), bunches of people post how GVoice is VOIP, blah blah blah. It is just a call router and voicemail.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (1)

cellurl (906920) | about 5 years ago | (#29668847)

Just publish some tests measuring actual audio delay over GSM(TCH) compared to VoIP(3G data).
Anything about 30ms is ScheiÃYe. My guess is it will be 100ms++ and sound lousy.
So then the carriers will take heat for having high latency on data networks...

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | about 5 years ago | (#29668883)

Actually, doesn't AT&T have download caps on its cell network? I imagine someone using Skype regularly would hit that wall pretty fast, and end up paying AT&T for the overage anyway. Combine that with the fact that they will probably ultimately figure out a way to override the FCC's recent stance [] on net neutrality (allowing them to degrade VoIP calls with packet shaping), and it seems that they might not lose anything with this move after all. It's likely more of a PR move to placate the FCC and get Apple off the hook. I very seriously doubt they're just going to roll over and let users bypass their phone network entirely (not that this is even possible, since I don't think they even offer a data-only plan for the iPhone).

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (4, Informative)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | about 5 years ago | (#29668989)

I suspect it has less to do with ATT heading off the FCC, and more to do with the recent announcement by Verizon stating they will be carrying a number of Android based phones, and explicitly stated they would permit voip over their data network (and I believe they mentioned Google Voice and Skype by name in that release).

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (1)

natehoy (1608657) | about 5 years ago | (#29669085)

Yes, though I don't know if the caps apply unless you tether the phone to a laptop or desktop.

VoIP doesn't take a massive amount of data, of course, but if you use a lot of minutes it can add up. I'm sure AT&T will only allow some of the lower codecs, not the high-bandwidth ones. I've had pretty decent VoIP conversations on as little as 15 kilobits per second symmetric connections (about 2 kilobytes), or about half the available speed of your average dialup modem. The connection was a tad scratchy and it's wasn't crystal-clear audio, but the voices were easily clear enough to make out and have a chat.

I was thinking (and I may be wrong, because I'm on a corporate plan with no caps) that consumer plans were uncapped unless you bought tethering, the assumption being that once you tether your cell to a real computer, you'll start pulling/pushing a lot more data so they wanted to put in caps.

I can certainly see AT&T implementing some sort of data usage cap in the very near future, maybe they'll set something up where you can opt in to use VoIP in return for accepting a cap. That would allow them to implement a cap without making a one-sided change to the contract (if you want Skype, you must accept the cap, if you don't want the cap you can continue under your current contract that does not allow VoIP).

Hopefully, if they DO implement a cap, it'll be pretty reasonable. The current cap for tethered plans is about 5 GB. That's actually quite a lot of VoIP minutes at anything resembling a reasonable codec.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (2, Funny)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | about 5 years ago | (#29669397)

Way too many people here on Slashdot bash apple for pathetic reasons. Why all the Apple hate?

Apple is just trying to be a good corporate citizen. They have absolutely no hidden agenda, like placating the FCC, or responding to competitors... all they really want is your love. Steve Jobs is your friend. Love him, and trust his judgement. He really only cares about you, and Apple's profits are simply a blessing from Heaven that comes along as a side benefit while Steve looks out for your best interests. He limits the programs you can run, so you wont run anything dangerous to yourself. He protects you through Apple's wonderful EULA, and through limiting your choices to only gold-standard Apple blessed applications.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29669637)

Not sure about Skype, but SIP at GSM quality uses around 5MB per hour of calling. If you're using it 24/7, then you're going to be using 3.5GB/month, but I doubt many people will use anything like that much. At two hours a day, it works out at 300MB/month, which is well below any reasonable cap. Hitting the front page of /. ten times uses more bandwidth than an hour of VoIP traffic.

Re:Bad deal for AT&T (1)

Jeffrey_Walsh VA (1335967) | about 5 years ago | (#29669515)

Pressure from iPhone owners and Apple, pending FCC action, and competition from Androids on Verizon all seem likely factors influencing the ATT move, but there is also a story on Reuters about a new Vonage mobile app for iPhone and BlackBerry. I have been unimpressed with network speeds for web browsing on 3G most of the time. I don't think the major 3G carriers will allow voip packets deliver voice to match the quality of traditional cell phone calls any time soon.

AT&T sets developer guidelines? (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 years ago | (#29668709)

They're revising the guidelines now AT&T's approved it. Does that mean that every iPhone developer in the world is limited by the guidelines set by one American network?

Re:AT&T sets developer guidelines? (1)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | about 5 years ago | (#29669075)

I believe the guidelines are specific to the US based App Store releases, not global. I am sure Apple has to comply with other carrier requests in their respective countries. What those are, I have no clue.

Re:AT&T sets developer guidelines? (1)

Necroman (61604) | about 5 years ago | (#29669145)

I'd agree with you on this one. If I remember correctly, the US only accounts for 20% (maybe less) of all iPhones in the world. And seeing that iTunes Stores vary per country/region, varying the iPhone apps for those regions should be just as easy.

Re:AT&T sets developer guidelines? (1)

yabos (719499) | about 5 years ago | (#29669609)

AT&T seems to dictate whether or not some apps are on the store. Skype could have made 2 versions of the app, one for AT&T, one for the rest of the world but for some reason they didn't. Blocking 3G Skype on AT&T meant no iPhone can use Skype over 3G except when jail broken. Same can be said about the tethering app that was out for about a day and then got pulled.

Can't wait for even worse quality. (2, Informative)

lessthanjakejohn (766177) | about 5 years ago | (#29668725)

Cell phone voice quality is horrible. Sometimes it is pretty hard to get through a thirty minute phone call and keep the 'excuse me, what?' count under 10. I can't even imagine what trying to do skype over a 3g connection is going to be like.

Re:Can't wait for even worse quality. (1)

Deag (250823) | about 5 years ago | (#29668771)

While not on a phone, regular skype on a laptop with a 3G dongle is fairly poor. On a good day it will work, but it is not consistent. 3g doesn't seem to be fast enough for it.

Re:Can't wait for even worse quality. (2, Informative)

muffen (321442) | about 5 years ago | (#29668869)

While not on a phone, regular skype on a laptop with a 3G dongle is fairly poor. On a good day it will work, but it is not consistent. 3g doesn't seem to be fast enough for it.

Skype on a jailbroken phone over 3g (with VoIPover3g) works just fine, can even run it with backgrounder so don't think the 3g network is the problem in your case.

Re:Can't wait for even worse quality. (1)

DarthStrydre (685032) | about 5 years ago | (#29669627)

In the same pattern, Skype over Edge works as well, so on 3g it is even less of a problem.

Re:Can't wait for even worse quality. (1)

kybur (1002682) | about 5 years ago | (#29668801)

It actually can be better than with Wifi. If you pace around like I do while talking on the phone, you'll find all kinds of little weak spots around your house/yard that will disrupt a call. I've made some phone calls in the past with skype on a jailbroken iPhone, and it worked fine, but there was really no point since I never use all my regular minutes.

People who need to call international will like this a lot though.

Re:Can't wait for even worse quality. (1)

vxvxvxvx (745287) | about 5 years ago | (#29668941)

I use skype at home because of voice quality. I can't get through a 3 minute cell phone call without asking the other person to repeat less than 10 times, much less a 30 minute phone call. Most people don't even realize they're talking over VOIP when I use skype. My guess would be skype over 3g will be just as bad as regular cell conversations. Though, it will be interesting to see - perhaps VOIP providers will use different failure methods when packets don't get through in such a way audio is delayed before it's dropped so that you hear more of the conversation.

Some prefunctory rebuttals: (4, Informative)

Wireless Joe (604314) | about 5 years ago | (#29668729)

1. No, this doesn't have anything to do with Google voice, as Google Voice isn't VOIP. 2. No, won't hurt the voice network, as the voice network and the 3G data network are not the same. If anything it will help the 2G voice network by offloading some traffic to the data network, which has more capacity and is receiving the preferred 850mhz spectrum. 3. This was inevitable as AT&T is switching to LTE, which will easily support VOIP; you cellular calls in general will probably be handled by VOIP. It's too early to think of anything else, but these are the most often misunderstood aspects of the announcement.

Re:Some prefunctory rebuttals: (1)

Glimmerdark (1229958) | about 5 years ago | (#29668951) voice isn't VOIP.. geesh, and all this time i thought it was an app that handled voice over IP... marketingspeak- it's bad

Wait Just a Minute (4, Insightful)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | about 5 years ago | (#29668781)

Is there any doubt AT&T is doing this in a feeble attempt to argue to the FCC that net neutrality laws aren`t needed? I have none.

Re:Wait Just a Minute (5, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | about 5 years ago | (#29668831)

There's absolutely no doubt that this is what AT&T is trying to do. This is par for the course for nearly any industry. As soon as the government starts looking into corporate practices and begins putting together something that will regulate an industry, that industry suddenly perks up, changes their behavior a little bit and says "No, see, we can self-regulate. No need to tell us what to do. The market is working." When in fact, if the market were working, the government wouldn't need to begin investigating those practices in the first place.

Re:Wait Just a Minute (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | about 5 years ago | (#29668999)

The market was working just fine until the government stuck their noses into it and reduced AT&T's profits.

Re:Wait Just a Minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29669469)

And why should any taxpayer doubt that what is good for Goldman Sachs [] is good for everyone?

Re:Wait Just a Minute (1)

DMiax (915735) | about 5 years ago | (#29669045)

You mean, since they announced it in a letter to the FCC they may be trying to influence the FCC?

Wait a minute (2, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | about 5 years ago | (#29668795)

I thought AT&T denied [] having any involvement in pulling VoIP apps from the app store in the first place.

Google Voice is NOT VOIP (4, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 years ago | (#29669125)

At this point, it has been said so many times that you pretty much have to be a complete idiot not to have grasped that GOOGLE VOICE IS NOT VOIP. It's more like a switchboard, routing calls.

Re:Wait a minute (2, Informative)

crmarvin42 (652893) | about 5 years ago | (#29669217)

They played a role in the writing the EULA to prohibit the use of VoIP, but the decision to pull apps that shouldn't have been approved in the first place based on the EULA was Apples decision. At least that's how I understand the situation. While I think most posters are being a little hypocritical "AT&T is evil for prohiting VoIP and evil for allowing it". I do agree that this is probably an effort to avoid regulation and stay competetive with Verizon.

Who cares about VoIP (4, Insightful)

WebMasterJoe (253077) | about 5 years ago | (#29668863)

I'm waiting for AT&T to allow regular calls on iPhone!

Re:Who cares about VoIP (5, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 5 years ago | (#29668961)

You can make regular calls! If by regular, you mean "when everyone else is asleep, as long as there is nobody else making a call through your local cell."

Re:Who cares about VoIP (2, Insightful)

socsoc (1116769) | about 5 years ago | (#29669119)

You get reception? I'll have to try at night. More half bars in more places.

Re:Who cares about VoIP (1)

Wireless Joe (604314) | about 5 years ago | (#29669105)

Google voice isn't VOIP [] . It uses your minutes just like any other call.

Re:Who cares about VoIP (1)

natehoy (1608657) | about 5 years ago | (#29669355)

You can make regular calls on one of those things? Wow, whoda thunk it. I'm pretty sure I've never seen that, and I know a few people who have iPhones.

Reaction to Verizon's announcement? (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | about 5 years ago | (#29668891)

I wonder if this is related to Verizon's announcement [] that they will soon be releasing phones running Android?

So AT&T WAS inhibiting Apple software/features (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 years ago | (#29668897)

When the story broke about the Google apps being pulled from the app store, AT&T made official statements that they had nothing to do with the decision. Now we have AT&Ts blessing of these types of apps and so they will be enabled?

I'm sure there are lots of ways to spin it, but hasn't AT&T been caught in a huge lie?

Re:So AT&T WAS inhibiting Apple software/featu (1)

tgd (2822) | about 5 years ago | (#29668919)

Google Voice isn't VOIP.

You can't make calls with it.

Re:So AT&T WAS inhibiting Apple software/featu (2, Insightful)

vxvxvxvx (745287) | about 5 years ago | (#29668967)

Which brings up an interesting question - how will this affect Google Voice? Since it's not VOIP and this is about VOIP, google voice could remain blocked from the app store for the "duplication of functionality" or whatever argument Apple is using.

Re:So AT&T WAS inhibiting Apple software/featu (1)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | about 5 years ago | (#29669115)

Google voice is VOIP, its just not initiated the same way as the traditional voip applications. You make the request via the web interface (or GVoice for jailbroken apps), Google Voice calls your phone, then connects to the individual you are contacting, it is however still a voip service.

Re:So AT&T WAS inhibiting Apple software/featu (1)

imamac (1083405) | about 5 years ago | (#29669477)

It uses a normal phone network switch. Therefore, it does not use IP. Therefore, it isn't VOIP.

Re:So AT&T WAS inhibiting Apple software/featu (1)

mcornelius (1007881) | about 5 years ago | (#29668957)

Google Voice may rely on VOIP for its service but it does not connect to your phone over VOIP; it just uses your cellular voice network or landline. They're doing this to weaken net neutrality disputes and to snub Google.

Re:So AT&T WAS inhibiting Apple software/featu (1)

natehoy (1608657) | about 5 years ago | (#29669303)

Google Voice would actually be good for AT&T, as it would have people using more airtime minutes (if you call from your AT&T phone to another AT&T phone using Google Voice, you BOTH use minutes - calls routed through Google Voice are not "Mobile-to-Mobile" or whatever AT&T calls it).

Google Voice does not include any VoIP capability, and actually uses almost no data. Google Voice is approved for the AT&T network - I use it all the time on my AT&T Blackberry.

The one thing Google Voice DOES do is a visual-voicemail-like capability, and I suspect Apple doesn't like that. In fact, they initially rejected Google Voice because it "duplicated existing functionality on the phone" or somesuch (I think what they feared was that someone would see that they could get Visual Voicemail without needing an iPhone, and would buy a better phone when they renewed).

Now, I can see AT&T objecting because (for example) I'm not locked into an AT&T contract for my primary telephone number. People call my Google Voice number knowing that Google Voice knows how to get ahold of me. They neither know nor care what phone I happen to be using to receive their call, nor what the telephone number is at that line. They've called ME, not my cell phone or my VoIP line or my work number or my Vonage line. And if I miss the call, I have exactly one voicemail box to check, which sends me email and is accessible through my Blackberry.

If I decide to drop this cell phone, I simply log into Google Voice and remove the cell phone from the list of phones to ring.

It also means I can potentially use fewer minutes, because if I'm home and all of my phones ring, I'll choose the VoIP line. Given that I have over 3,500 rollover minutes, I don't see this as a big loss on AT&T's part. But it might be for some who like to go over and incur those oh-so-tasty overage charges AT&T loves. :)

Re:So AT&T WAS inhibiting Apple software/featu (1)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | about 5 years ago | (#29669639)

Honestly, I doubt ATT cares about the voice aspect of google voice. What they are running scared from, is the fact that google voice eats into their SMS cash cow which provides a significant portion of their revenue. Once I get a decent app (I use gvoice via cydia at the moment) for google voice that supports realtime notifications of SMS and voicemail (right now I have to run the app periodically, and I have my gv account setup to forward sms messages sent to my gv number, to my normal cell) without using my current allotment of text messages, I will be dropping sms messaging packages from my phone. Figure a few million people drop the $5 to $20 a month SMS packages, and thats a huge dent in ATT's profit margins...

Unlimited Data Plan Not So Unlimited (1)

s31523 (926314) | about 5 years ago | (#29668991)

Soon all those that flock to the VOIP will find out how unlimited the AT&T unlimited plan really is. I am sure they will find a way to make money.

Re:Unlimited Data Plan Not So Unlimited (1)

Vegeta99 (219501) | about 5 years ago | (#29669069)

6GB last month right here!

(Tethering "unlimited" is 5GB. I didn't pay the extra $10 to tether, I just share my internet connection using a adhoc wi-fi network, nothings tethered down by a cable!)

How does Skype handle changing to/from wi-fi? (2, Interesting)

King_TJ (85913) | about 5 years ago | (#29669855)

I'm wondering how Skype will handle a call if you lose your 3G signal and the iPhone switches to an available wi-fi signal, or back?

That's a pretty common scenario here at my workplace, for example. We have wi-fi in the office but sometimes you might walk out to the parking lot where the wi-fi drops out, and you're back on 3G ... and vice-versa obviously happens when you go back inside.

You'd see the same thing happening at restaurants like McDonalds that have free wi-fi for iPhone owners. Are people going to drop all their Skype calls as they leave or enter places like that?

That, alone, could be a big motivator for people to just use the "real" cell network instead of Skype .....

In What Network? (1)

boxxa (925862) | about 5 years ago | (#29669065)

MMS almost crashed ATT's network along with constant complains that the iPhone strains ATT heavily..... how the heck are they gonna handle VoIP traffic when they can barley keep calls up in major cities? I am all for this idea and think its great but be real people.

Re:In What Network? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | about 5 years ago | (#29669471)

MMS uses the "voice" side of the protocol like SMS does. VoIP uses data. Completely different issues, even though the two share the same frequency and protocol, because voice should always be prioritized over data. That means VoIP might blow big steaming monkey chunks in quality, and might affect web browsing and email, but should actually take load OFF the voice network.

When MMS interferes, it does so because MMS uses the voice protocols and is competing with other voice apps, like SMS and, well, people making noises to communicate. So when you send someone that 5MB video attachment of you saving and saying "hi" over MMS instead of sending a 1KB SMS "Hi!", it chews up a lot of voice capacity. If you send the selfsame attachment over email, it is sent as data and isn't quite such a problem.

Plus, VoIP is a more steady-flow, low-bandwidth usage. Many of the codecs work just fine on 14.4k dialup modem connections. That means that you'd need about 5-10 simultaneous VoIP customers to use the same kind of bandwidth that one person watching YouTube would take. Admittedly, the VoIP connection would generally be more sustained, but it takes a lot more VoIPers to overload the data side of a tower.

Throwing stones (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | about 5 years ago | (#29669067)

'the positive actions of one company are no substitute for a government policy that protects openness and benefits consumers.'

At least when such openness benefits your business model and damages your competitor's.

I dislike Skype as much as I dislike AT&T. Come to think of it I dislike Apple as well. But really there aren't a lot of technology companies that I do like.

Tipping point? (1)

williamhooligan (892067) | about 5 years ago | (#29669127)

Is this because the proliferation of Skype has reached the point where the revenue from the potential lost subscribers outweighed the revenue from people going over their 'free minutes'? Sounds unlikely, but very cool if so. Now, if only someone Spotify would make their iPhone client use the business model of the desktop version (ad-supported) instead of requiring a full, paid-for subscription.

Bandwidth Allies? (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | about 5 years ago | (#29669165)

I wonder if AT&T is doing this so they can then go to those VoIP companies and say "Hey, you guys are killing our bandwidth...give us money to help upgrade out network". Of course, we already knew they were bitching about MMS and other data already bringing their network to its knees (but don't worry AT&T, we won't tell Vonage or Skype ).

Re:Bandwidth Allies? (1)

volxdragon (1297215) | about 5 years ago | (#29669505)

Oh I wish I had mod points right now - this is VERY true. AT&T's network is painfully slow in most markets (luckily, my primary market is pretty good, but I frequent others where it is almost completely unusable). 3G data is pointless if you have zero capacity in your back-haul to the backbone...I can see this only as fodder to raise rates and cry fowl against the voip companies in a few months...

Actually, it is a substitute (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 years ago | (#29669169)

'the positive actions of one company are no substitute for a government policy that protects openness and benefits consumers'

Why not? See, market pressures worked just fine in this case. It takes a little longer, but there was no panel of people we have to pay in the government telling anyone what to do - and more importantly, when you have such a panel telling people what they can do, pretty soon they are telling people what they CAN'T do.

Why do you want governments damping down the progress of tech companies, when there is no need for it?

Re:Actually, it is a substitute (1)

natehoy (1608657) | about 5 years ago | (#29669737)

I don't think it was market pressures, it was the THREAT of new government policy. Which is fine, a company acting nicey-nicey is a company acting nicey-nicey, but the threat needs to remain.

Competition is good for consumers (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | about 5 years ago | (#29669291)

AT&T did this because consumers have alternatives to the IPhone. The AT&T IPhone regime must remain friendly to consumers to win their $ in this free and open marketplace. Capitalism is working for the little guy. This is a good example of that.

I agree... (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | about 5 years ago | (#29669329)

Definitely agree there should be a stronger governed presence, not because Apple says, "oh its ok now because we say so..." that its ok, it is ok because the law says so, and that there should be better understanding of what constitutes fair play especially on a small phone that acts like a computer and can be used to run programs of any nature. You bought the phone it is yours, but you do not allow me to run my app on it because you say I should not....screw you Apple...suck on MY apples!

Goes without saying... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 years ago | (#29669369)

Do I even have to say it?

This, almost certainly, is a trap!

After all, AT&T has never been in the business of giving customers what they want. Why on earth would they start now?

Att out now! (1)

darkharlequin (1923) | about 5 years ago | (#29669415)

I guess all of the skyping was too much for the nj/pa/de area 3g network! No internet fix for about 8 hours :(

I'm curious (0)

Scholasticus (567646) | about 5 years ago | (#29669417)

Will it still blend?

VOIP is cool, but what about tethering? (3, Interesting)

Anonymusing (1450747) | about 5 years ago | (#29669441)

I'm more interested in tethering -- I mean, officially-supported, I-don't-have-to-violate-my-warranty tethering. It's been promised for awhile.

Finally. (1)

InsertCleverUsername (950130) | about 5 years ago | (#29669653)

I remember, over ten years ago, a computer sci professor pointing out that it's all data --web sites, voice, video are all digital now. It's really comical to me that it's taken this long for people to come to terms with this fact (and that we're paying hundreds of dollars per MB for text messages). I don't think it will be long before everything we access over any network is subject to one fee schedule.

Of course! More Government is the solution. (1)

thethibs (882667) | about 5 years ago | (#29669839)

the positive actions of one company are no substitute for a government policy

Something you don't like? The answer is more government.

Don't you ever get tired of this crap?

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