Apple lifts 3G VoIP restrictions on the iPhone

For a while now, consumers and developers alike have been somewhat annoyed with Apple's (or AT&T's) decision to ban VoIP calls over 3G when you're on an iPhone. It means that you have to be within range of a WiFi signal, and when you're out and about, free ones are not particularly common. Today, amongst the announcement of the iPad, Apple announced that it has removed this restriction entirely and applications will now be able to make VoIP calls over 3G.

According to PR Newswire, only one application (named iCall) takes advantage of this possibility, though expect many more to follow suit very soon. As the general turnover for an App Store approval is a few days at least, it indicates that the block used to prevent VoIP calls over 3G was server-side, and not the fault of the software (which makes sense). Engadget has tested this and can confirm that it works, so it'll be interesting to see what happens now in terms of VoIP software from the likes of Google.

If you use iCall, feel free to start making 3G calls straight away, though otherwise you'll have to wait until other app developers submit some updates.

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25 Comments

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xSuRgEx said,
so skype to skype calls wouldnt even work for you guys over wifi?

No, which is why this article only mentioned 3G. It has already been working over wifi.

Rudy said,
To be honest....I have more spare minutes on my plan than spare GBs of data...

But i bet those minutes are for domestic/canada use only? You can now use VOIP to call the world. For Free. Or at reduced rates compared to ATT World.

rxfleming said,

But i bet those minutes are for domestic/canada use only? You can now use VOIP to call the world. For Free. Or at reduced rates compared to ATT World.

Good point....although I do have a calling card that cost about 0.1cent a minute it is a pain in the ass to use it

I would say more of a Multimedia communications device...at least thats what Apple would say...they don't want the iPad being compared to the iPhone...remember its an in-between device :p

According to iPad tech specs it does support edge

Wi-Fi + 3G model
UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz)
GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)

Si7777 said,
... And thus, the iPad (3G) can now be used as a phone.

That's assuming it has a mic or you'll need an accessory. Additionally, no mention has been made of it working on 2G networks. If it doesn't fall back to 2G then it's gonna be pretty patchy.

Garry said,

That's assuming it has a mic or you'll need an accessory. Additionally, no mention has been made of it working on 2G networks. If it doesn't fall back to 2G then it's gonna be pretty patchy.

That's true. I guess the Apple in-line mic headphones would work? Maybe even standard headsets could work? Good point about 2G (or Edge, for that matter) - even if it did, what would be the minimum transfer rate to get a usable connection?

Si7777 said,
... And thus, the iPad (3G) can now be used as a phone.

I would say more of a Multimedia communications device...at least thats what Apple would say...they don't want the iPad being compared to the iPhone...remember its an in-between device :p

Garry said,

That's assuming it has a mic or you'll need an accessory. Additionally, no mention has been made of it working on 2G networks. If it doesn't fall back to 2G then it's gonna be pretty patchy.


It has a built-in mic.

Nice. First they give amazon credit for the kindle software and now this. Apple is changing despite what people say.

Sikh said,
Nice. First they give amazon credit for the kindle software and now this. Apple is changing despite what people say.

Well, they certainly fool the fools. :p

Sikh said,
Nice. First they give amazon credit for the kindle software and now this. Apple is changing despite what people say.

Changing? nah. Apple and AT&T have probably just came to the realisation that the FCC where about to slap a massive fine on them for anti-competitive behaviour with Google Voice, and have decided to preempt it by loosening their restrictions.