Skype Comments on AT&T Policy Change Allowing VoIP over 3G Network

Following up on a rumor earlier today that AT&T would be announcing a new, friendlier policy towards Skype and Google Voice, Skype President Josh Silverman posted on the official Skype blog, saying "Good move, AT&T":

All of us at Skype applaud today's announcement by AT&T (in an FCC filing to be published shortly) 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.

Silverman reveals that 10% of all iPhone and iPod touch devices have downloaded the Skype app (which makes roughly 5 million installs, if our math is right), and while they give AT&T the requisite kudos, Silverman states that it's the government and industry regulation that should ensure open networks -- in line with the FCC's recent move to establish "net neutrality".

Of course, AT&T announcements and Skype enthusiasm are one thing, let's see how long it takes to get Skype 3G into the App Store.

(And, of course, that still leaves Google Voice)

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • I can see both sides of the argument, that would be a tough decision to make
  • I want my Google Voice App :( AT&T just does not want to allow people to send SMS messages over their network for FREE. I find it funny how AT&T's VoIP (AT&T Virtual Receptionist) was approved & has been working just fine.
  • The FCC, Google, and ATT All on the same page.
    Apple twisting in the wind all by itself here banning Google Voice.
    How long can they hold out? Customer wrath will NOW be fully focused on Apple and ONLY Apple for any WiFi only apps, and Google Voice bans, and similar things.
    Is the Dam starting to develop cracks, and we start to see a stampede of previously wifi only apps and banned apps, or will Apple circle the wagons and dig in their heels further? Is it even rational to mix that many metaphors in a single question?
  • Apple is already updating their docs for the new AT&T policy so it looks like we will see the new 3G Skype app soon enough.
  • Does this mean google voice can be approved and I can give up this jailbreak, I'm tired of waiting for 3.1 redsnow, I'd donate money if it would help them move faster
  • Wow. A phone app on a phone that already has a built-in phone app. None of my concern. I don't use that nonsense. I can't wait to see what Apple will do. It'll be funny if Apple rejects Skype 3G and Google Voice again.
    Then again, it is Apple's right to say what goes into the App Store. Then there is jailbreaking. And the circle continues.
  • Google Voice isn't VoIP. Apple doesn't care about those, they compete with AT&T, not Apple. Now we'll see VoIP.
    Google Voice likely scares the crap out of Apple because it provides a gateway to a better service and Apple doesn't want people to get hooked on Google and turn the iPhone into dumb hardware until Apple has a competitive solution (their new data center?)
  • While this is all good what I'd really like to see is the approval of applications streaming over 3G like SlingPlayer. That would truly deserve applause.
  • @Rene:
    GV isn't Voip by some strict definition of the term.
    Voip has come to mean something in the phone industry that is not always used in general practice. The phone industry requires some interoperability with POTS to be considered Voip.
    Skype to skype calls on your computer are voip in the technical sense, but not recognized as such by the phone industry.
    But if Skype-to-skype can work on both 3G and wifi and if skype adds notifications, (like Fring and IM+) it would allow international calls from iphone to iphone or PC, and all portions would be carried via TCP/IP, so "Voip" by any rational definition.
    Now, if GV could carry the mobile leg (iphone to/from GV servers) via 3g or wifi, then you would never have to use any Minutes for a GV incoming or outgoing call.
    (I thought the banned GV app did that, used TCP/IP for outgoing calls from the iphone, but Its not clear that this is the case.).
    This change of heart from ATT would allow Google to cut their leased lines in half, by handling half the call-end-points by TCP/IP.
    On another note:
    I think you are probably right about the New Data Center somehow entering into this whole mystery.
    OTOH, If Apple turns the mystery tablet into the iReader for the print industry, and replays the iPod for Music industry story, that data center could be gobbled up pretty quickly.
  • This is probably only handy in the US. Skype would mean I'd have to pay for incoming calls - I don't now. Also we don't have unlimited data - so a data intensive app over 3G isn't all that attractive.
  • Right now I just wonder: how will AT&T's decision affect other countries, e.g. Canada? Will we get Skype calling on 3G over Rogers'/Fido network?
  • Dose this means that the Sling Media will work over the 3G Network?
  • No, SlingPlayer clearly isn't VoIP, and AT&T specifically bans Sling-like activities from their network. So, unless and until AT&T changes that policy as well, no Sling for anyone. (As if the network could handle it anyway... )
  • I hope Skype already has their update ready to submit to Apple, with Push!!!
  • Skype appreciate AT&T new plan to allow VoIP calls on 3G network, it will provide fair chance to other iTune VoIP apps like Truphone, Jajah or Vopium to promote their apps.
  • I am really surprised at Skype's statement. They were unable to provide any reliable communication on already available internet how they could be so "enthusiastic" for the 3G internet. Until now, most of the service providers had not offered any video calls but skype guys were brave enough to offer video calls with poor quality. I don't know what they are gonna do with their service.