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October 7, 2009

AT&T approves VoIP for iPhone

Posted: 09:44 AM ET

In a press release Tuesday AT&T announced it will now allow iPhone VoIP apps, like Skype, to run on the cellular network.

AT&T previously restricted all VoIP apps, which transmit voice calls over a data network, for use only when an iPhone was on a Wi-Fi network. With these restrictions dropped, iPhone customers can now use AT&T's 3G data network to make calls without using their wireless minutes.

AT&T claims this change was due to customer demand:

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.

“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, AT&T Mobility & Consumer Markets. “Today’s decision was made after evaluating our customers’ expectations and use of the device compared to dozens of others we offer.”

Recent FCC scrutiny over Apple's rejection of the Google Voice app, as well as a congressional push for net neutrality are likely also responsible for AT&T's change of heart.

New VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) apps that take advantage of 3G capabilities should be available soon. However, AT&T's 3G network where I live in Atlanta is about as reliable as the Detroit Lions, so I doubt I will be dropping my traditional voice service any time soon.

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Filed under: Apple • consumer tech • iPhone • online news • Uncategorized

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Conservative Independent   October 7th, 2009 2:07 pm ET

Now if they will only listen to their customers and add free texting and some other options back in the plan...

Peter Bouchard   October 7th, 2009 2:59 pm ET

ATT can't figure out how to make money off voip with net neutrality, so they locked it down and bullied their customers.

Only after being brow beaten by the FCC and seeing the writting on the wall did they cave in. This is typical 10,000 pound gorilla tactics for the once monoply who hopes to be close to a monoply again.

The FCC & the SEC need to limit the size and reach of ATT, as they are not good for the industry.

Franko   October 7th, 2009 4:27 pm ET

Has the Death Star subjugated CNN into infomercials ?

climberccm   October 7th, 2009 5:09 pm ET

While VOIP is nice I think greater network reliability and coverage is better. I was in the Great Smokey Mountains in Tennessee traveling from Gatlinburg to Deals Gap in North Carolina along TN 73 to US 129 and had zero bars. My wife who is with Verizon had three bars throughout the entire trip. In addition it is a rare call that Verizon drops. While on my iphone ATT drops calls all the time. While I love my Iphone, ATT network reliability and coverage are really forcing me to look hard at the Google Android Phones especially if Verizon begins selling the phones as planned.

Andrew   October 7th, 2009 6:39 pm ET

Iphone users are killing the network for people that don't spend 75% of their day on their phones. Granted its not all of them but this is just adding to the problem of an already over taxed network.

LionsFan   October 7th, 2009 10:00 pm ET

"As reliable as the Detroit Lions"
- Really!! Do you really need to rub the losses into our faces.. It's bad enough we have the highest unemployment in the U.S.. but we have to deal with these insults also..


AJ   October 7th, 2009 11:39 pm ET

ATT only cares about $$$$. Make no mistakes, customer service is secondary, it always will be, but they are trying to make customer service a top priority but are failing miserably because but they won't sacrafice loosing any $$$.

Carla R., Portland, TN   October 8th, 2009 10:00 am ET

ATT, why offer more stuff guys? I have a complaint it would be nice if you addressed. I still get 1 bar at my home. Just plain service would be really nice! 1 bar won't let me access the internet on my phone. 1 bar drops 1 out of every 3 calls. I luv Apple, I hate ATT. Coulda had Verison with no iphone, it works here.

Peter, Sonoma County, CA   October 8th, 2009 11:23 am ET

AT&T = cell phone ghetto... Verizon has much better coverage and doesn't drop calls [nearly as much]. Well, let me add this, Sprint is even worse than AT&T, actually.

Joseph Cebula   October 8th, 2009 11:30 am ET

Like so many others here, I love my iPhone but to echo the most common complaint against the AT&T network the coverage is extremely spotty... so please pour your money into that first. The iphone can only keep my allegiance so long. All I hear is good things anbout Verizon.

Scott Watson   October 8th, 2009 12:41 pm ET

Wish we had this ability in Canada...Maybe someday

Robert   October 8th, 2009 3:39 pm ET

I switched from AT&T with iPhone to Sprint due to horrible network coverage. I constantly had dropped calls and when the call did drop my iPhone would freeze half the time. This also happened with my work Blackberry Bold on the same streets here in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With Sprint I've NEVER dropped a call. The coverage works great for me. And now I get Any mobile, Anytime – I can dial or receive calls from any mobile phone (regardless of provider) in the USA and it doesn't count against my minutes! YEAH SPRINT! And Google Android is coming to Sprint!!!! I still use my iPhone at home over WiFi to browse the Internet while laying in bed 🙂 Lazy – I know! I keep my iPhone in Airplane mode with WiFi turned on.

Franko   October 8th, 2009 4:10 pm ET

Death Star executives used to advise ex-President Bush
But under Emperor Obama; bailouts go to bankers and car makers

Not only bankers, but also AT&T are symbols of American domination
Pax Americana, without VOIP from AT&T, will disintegrate into world anarchy

LionsHater   October 8th, 2009 5:25 pm ET

“As reliable as the Detroit Lions”
– The Lions are actually very reliable.. to lose.

San Diego   October 9th, 2009 3:19 pm ET


AT&T Service is fine where I live. 3g and all.

I'm sure up in the woods of Wyoming or somewhere it's a little less reliable, but lets be serious: if you live out in boonie'ville, you're probably not getting a cell phone anyway.

Franko   October 9th, 2009 3:48 pm ET

WIFI mode for free hotspots is a must when your expensive,
unreliable provider terminates you for non-payment.
If can not WIFI Skype, do not buy.

The Travel Psychologist   October 9th, 2009 4:27 pm ET

Good! Nice to know that VOIP will work on AT&T. My question is this: How about overseas? How will this function in areas outside AT&T's network where it depends on affiliated roaming networks?

Christo   October 10th, 2009 11:18 pm ET

Come to VZW...where the service works

gayandmarried   October 11th, 2009 8:05 am ET

do as I did,, get an UNLOCKED iphone, which you can do by going to other countries and buying an unlocked iphone from an apple store,, bring it home and use it on the T MOBILE network,,

i did just that and am happy as a clam with the service and reliability of the network,,,

dont support att~

epgomez   October 11th, 2009 11:21 am ET

I'm still amazed by the comments. Nobody blames the iphone but blames AT&T for the drop calls. I tried a nokia phone with the same provider then the freezing and the drop calls are gone! They all love the iphone inspite of this.

B   October 11th, 2009 4:20 pm ET

i demand they drop the MANDATORY data plan!

techy   October 12th, 2009 12:56 pm ET

Well the point is ATT is letting there customers use VOIP on WIFI. Do other providers do this? I think it's a symbol of giving a little back to there customers...
Iphone works great as a gadget but as a phone, the porblem lays with Apple

Mike   October 12th, 2009 3:49 pm ET

I used to work for a company called StarTek,they are contracted by AT&T to be a customer service rep for them.As most of you have figured out the customer service is horrible because of lies told to you by AT&T.We are told to say these lies and read from a script.AT&T definately doesn't have the best customer service,because the company called StarTek is pressured by AT&T to rush recruits through training so they can lie to customers.This is the main reason I no longer work there because I could not lie to people anymore,along with the fact was tired of being cussed out and blamed for something I had no control over especially when it came to issues with the iphone.

Phone_user   October 12th, 2009 3:59 pm ET

As a former verizon user. Verizon network is only reliable depending on where you live and also becasue they do not have phones such as the Iphone where a lot of the bandwith is used. Wait unitl they get the Iphone and they will strugle also. As for the verizon billing system , DON'T get me started. That is why I left. No problems with connection in my area with ATT. ( So far for the last 3 years).

Franko   October 13th, 2009 12:36 am ET

Free Google Voice to end "cell phone hegemony" ?
Coupled with Google Android, scaring iPhone & AT&T ?
One side invoking net neutrality - iReporter calling this "a bold face lie"

Klat   October 13th, 2009 12:37 am ET

I switched from Verizon to AT&T. Let me tell you that I regret nothing. I get 5 bar nearly everywhere and I havent had any dropped calls. But personally I still like Verizon more. They have great coverage. Im not a big fan of their phones though. One reason I also switched is plainly because of the Iphone. And AT&T has been spending over 20 BILLION each year to improve their network.

NC Iphone user   October 13th, 2009 8:23 am ET

We're just talking about cell phones here folks. People get so bent out of shape every time everything doesn't work "perfectly" 100% of the time. I don't have 3g all the time, the signal isn't spot on inside buildings quite often, but most of the time the Iphone works as advertised and is still an amazing device and every new user I see says the same thing, that they love it. I hear just as many complaints about Verizon and Sprint and all the other carriers. ATT will expand their bandwidth in time, if not, the Iphone could move to another carrier in the future. But guess what, if and when it does, that carrier will experience the same overwhelming strain on its network too. Then what? Oh yea, you can complain about them. It's just a telephone, not a pacemaker.

janie   October 13th, 2009 9:06 am ET

hmm need to do more work on the voiceover
recognition software!

Gage Gerry   October 13th, 2009 2:32 pm ET

good news people i think this year ATT and the apple contract will be up

hey apple go to t-mobile plz there the best

K-good   October 13th, 2009 4:32 pm ET

Being a Chicago native, I love the lowly Detroit Lions comparison, anything to rain on their already rain-delayed parade.

K-good   October 13th, 2009 4:34 pm ET

Also AT&T only did this to dip their greedy little hands in the pot and get more money, because everyone has a jailbroken Iphone that had some type of VoIP App already anyway. This way AT&T can get a piece of the pie now.

Projectmgrmike   October 13th, 2009 4:49 pm ET

Here's the thing folks, some areas one carrier will work better than others. It doesn't matter where you are, who you are, or what phone you have, it's a fact of life.

For me, I had Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T (not all at the same time of course). Verizon I had zero bars in my own house, Sprint was spotty at best, T-Mobile had 1 bar, and AT&T has 4-5 bars. Whereas when I was in California, Sprint worked like a champ.

No technology is perfect, it will never work 100% of the time – so just pick the vendor with the least headaches and accept what you have.

Franko   October 13th, 2009 8:03 pm ET

Will no one shed a tear ? - Times are tough for AT&T
Last Year, the CEO got ~ 18 million (4.5 million bonus included)
This year, no bonus, despite cutting jobs.

jj   October 24th, 2009 2:34 pm ET

Too Big To Fail ! One of the most dysfunctional companies since they added NEW to the name . Another disaster waiting to happen .
As for the voip issue , they already offer horrible voip service with Uverse iptv ,(which is sucking them dry , with their "throw money at every problem" solution. Too expensive to run , Qwest is smart and throwing out iptv.) of course the customers are asking for more . You got tv, phone and broadband , and cell with the same company , but you cant use voip apps ?

Benjamin Edwards   September 27th, 2010 1:26 pm ET

VOIP is one of the best technologies that we enjoy today and it is very very useful in call centers~,`

Electric Oven    October 14th, 2010 4:03 am ET

VOIP is very nice specially if you use long distance telephone calls a lot;~~

Oxygen Monitor :   October 25th, 2010 1:07 pm ET

VOIP is very good specially if you have lots of voice and data traffic that are to be sent simultaneously~~'

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