Skype To Offer iPhone Users VoIP Calls Via 3G

Michelle Maisto covers mobile devices, Android and Apple for eWEEK and is also a food writer.

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iPhone users are soon to get a Skype app that will allow them to make VoIP calls, not just over WiFi networks, but over 3G networks as well

Skype has announced that a Skype for iPhone app, that can place VoIP (voice over IP) calls over 3G networks is coming soon, after Apple changed its SDK.

At the moment, iCall already offers such a facility, but Skype says it’s waiting until it can offer CD-quality sound, along with other benefits for customers.

Writing that Skype fans have been wondering when such a solution would arrive, Skype answered, “Well, the simple answer is soon.”

Currently, Skype calling is only possible via WiFi for the iPhone, after the company released Skype for iPhone, a VoIP solution that works exclusively on WiFi networks, back in March 2009.

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However Apple (but some suspect AT&T, the exclusive US provider of the iPhone) was less welcoming of a solution over 3G. Such sentiments spilled into a snub of the Google Voice app, which eventually got the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) peering into the matter.

On 6 October, 2009, however, AT&T – in a move applauded by the FCC – announced it had reversed its previous network policy and would allow VoIP iPhone applications that bypass its voice service. It added that it additionally offers other devices that allow VoIP applications on 3G, 2G and WiFi networks.

Regarding Skype’s recent announcement, analyst Neil Mawston, with Strategy Analytics, told eWEEK, “The iPhone represents another distribution channel for Skype and an opportunity to grow its revenues and customer base. Skype will be hoping that iPhone users, who tend to be very active in exploring new apps, represent an inflection point that will drive higher usage of mobile Skype. Google, with its Voice app, will be watching closely.”