AT&T allows cellular VoIP apps on iPhone

US mobile operator AT&T Wireless must be feeling the need to be more open. Not only has it recently enabled MMS on its network, but this week it allowed previously outlawed VoIP apps to run on the iPhone.

Until now, VoIP applications on the iPhone were only enabled for wifi connectivity, despite the fact that a variety of other wireless devices on the network have been allowed to run VoIP applications on 3G and 2G networks.

“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 Mobility. “Today’s decision was made after evaluating our customers’ expectations and use of the device compared to dozens of others we offer.”

Commenting on the move, Josh Silverman, president of Skype, said: “Since launching our iPhone application six months ago, consumers have downloaded and installed Skype on 10 per cent of all iPhone and iPod touch devices sold. This clearly demonstrates that our customers are extremely interested in taking Skype conversations with them on the go on the iPhone.

“Nonetheless, the positive actions of one company are no substitute for a government policy that protects openness and benefits consumers and we look forward to further innovations that will enable even more mobile Skype calling.”

Late last month, the chairman of US communications authority the FCC vocalised his support for net neutrality as a way of preserving the free and open internet. In a speech, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman, Julius Genachowski outlined the steps he believes the Commission must take to ensure all net traffic, services and applications are treated equally.

The call for neutrality expands upon the FCC’s previous drive behind four open internet principles supporting consumers’ ability to access the lawful internet content, applications, and services of their choice, and attach non-harmful devices to the network.

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