AT&T said late Tuesday that it has informed Apple and the FCC that "it has taken the steps necessary" to enable Voice over Internet Protocol — or VOIP — services on the iPhone over its 3G wireless network. AT&T said it made the decision "after evaluating our customers’ expectations and use of the device compared to dozens of others we offer."   The company already allows subscribers to make Internet calls using its 3G network over other wireless devices.

Apple: Spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said Apple welcomed the the announcement. "We are very happy that AT&T is now supporting VOIP applications.  We will be amending our developer agreements to get VOIP apps on the App Store and in customers’ hands as soon as possible."

Skype President Josh Silverman said: "Since launching our iPhone application six months ago, people have downloaded and installed Skype on 10% of all iPhone and iPod touch devices sold – making it clear that people are extremely interested in taking Skype conversations with them on the go. All of us at Skype applaud today’s announcement by AT&T (in an FCC filing here in PDF format) 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. We’re all looking forward to further developments that will let people use Skype on any device, on any network."


FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said: “When AT&T indicated, in response to the FCC’s inquiry, that it would take another look at permitting VoIP on its 3G network I was encouraged,” Genachowski said in a statement. “I commend AT&T’s decision to open its network to VoIP. Opening wireless services to greater consumer choice will drive investment and innovation in the mobile marketplace.”

A Google representative said Apple hadn’t informed it of any change in the status of its application.

There was no word yet from Vonage who just got their application into the App Store yesterday.

The FCC was also silent this evening, but they probably played the biggest role in getting AT&T to allow VoIP traffic.  They’ve been pushing their Net Neutrality stance on the wireless carriers since this administration took over a year ago.  While it was a long time coming, the move was inevitable as both 4G standards, WiMAX and LTE both only support only VoIP, and not the traditional wireless voice product, for telephone calls.


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