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Summary:

Earlier today in response to my post about Nimbuzz, a good pal emailed to find out why the service didn’t work over the iPhone’s 3G connection. After all, a few weeks ago AT&T announced support for VoIP over 3G with much fanfare, a move that was […]

iphone3gvoip.jpgEarlier today in response to my post about Nimbuzz, a good pal emailed to find out why the service didn’t work over the iPhone’s 3G connection. After all, a few weeks ago AT&T announced support for VoIP over 3G with much fanfare, a move that was widely applauded, including kudos from FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

A month has passed since the decision was announced, and there is still no support for VoIP over 3G. “Apple actually did not approve the 3G calling — so they completely broke their promise of allowing VoIP calls on 3G,” a Nimbuzz spokesperson said.

Even Skype doesn’t work over 3G (see attached screenshot). Truphone is not working either, much like Fring. I am not sure if these services work over 3G data connections in Europe and other parts of the world, but it looks like Apple is the one putting in the roadblock here.

  1. Just remember Om, whenever you want to move to an open platform, Android will be waiting. I’m sure it won’t hold your past pessimism towards it against you.

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    1. I am happy with my Blackberry Tour. I actually don’t need another phone with an incomplete OS: Android is still far from complete and not unique enough for me to switch to it on a full time basis.

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      1. Fair enough.

        But Android is not unique enough? How much more unique could you want? Sounds awkwardly biased.

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      2. Om,

        Didn’t you previously mention that you ditched your Blackberry Tour because of trackball issues and the phone breaking?

        Did you get a replacement or are you learning to live with the device?

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  2. Looks like I am going to have to jailbreak once again. I didn’t after the last update because I heard that they were allowing this. I haven’t had to use it since upgrading but I guess I am off to get the jailbreak. I hate Apple more and more each day and if I didn’t have to pay a high fee to ditch AT&T then I would switch to Verizon and get a Droid. I am going to contact AT&T about this and tell them that if I can’t use Skype over 3G as promised then I consider that breach of contract and want to be let out without a fee. Or at least I will call and tell them that the scumbags at Apple are ruining their reputation and company.

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    1. I hate when people post stupid comments as if they know the law. You bought your iPhone under the previous contractual conditions (because if you hadn’t you would have already returned your phone to buy a Droid) with the full understanding NO VOIP via 3G. There is no breach of contract. Considering you jailbroke your phone previously, a violation of your CONTRACT with AT&T and Apple, really gives you no box to stand on to begin with. Also, you complain about the high price you pay to AT&T, well guess what? You will pay the exact same amount for a Droid. Jesus Christ!

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  3. Why in the world would Apple even care? I can see AT&T having a problem but not Apple unless they just don’t want to deal with Google Voice. Could see Jobs being a little perturbed that Schmidt did this while on the Apple board (kind of sleazy in my opinion).

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    1. My thoughts exactly. Jobs is a scumbag, you can tell by looking at him. F-You Steve Jobs and Apple.

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    2. Just to be clear, the service(s) work just fine over 3G on Symbian devices. So that is a problem that is clearly Apple specific. Anyway let’s see how this gets resolved.

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  4. DistortedLoop Sunday, November 8, 2009

    Maybe the problem is the app developers, like Skype, haven’t released updated versions yet, or the current firmware doesn’t support it and next update will bring it. To parrot others, why would Apple care one way or the other; I’d think they’d lean towards allowing it, since it makes the phone more marketable.

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    1. You hit the nail on the head. It’s the software that isn’t allowing 3G based on the terms the companies had to abide by when submitting the app. These companies have to update their code, and apps have to update in order to make calls over the 3G network. It’s not magic like some people think. Once AT&T allows it, it will take time to roll out.

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      1. As logical as it seems to blame the app designers (like Skype), considering that it really doesn’t make sense for Apple to block the 3g voip, it actually is Apple. According to Skype people:

        “We have a 3G enabled release ready to go any time. We are obliged to sit on it due to Apple, whose developer licence agreement has not been changed to allow VoIP services on mobile connections, talk being cheap. That is what the “contractual restrictions” refers to.

        Once we are allowed by Apple to release a 3G calling app, we will do so right there. You will need to update to the new version via App Store to enable the feature.”

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  5. I believe Skype would have to push out an update to the iPhone app in order for voice to work over 3G. Remember the very first version? They “slipped up” and left 3G voice enabled in the app, which was quickly replaced.

    The iPhone cannot distinguish between VoIP and normal network traffic (the last thing it needs is a full-blown firewall running in the background, eating battery too!), thus, the blocks must be self-imposed by developers. Since Apple is the gatekeeper, it can pull any non-compliant apps from the store.

    Om, the questions to Nimbuzz, Skype etc. should be: have you re-submitted your app with voice enabled over 3G? If so, has Apple denied approval?

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    1. Apple doesn’t allow VoIP over 3G. Apple’s, SDK agreement is still the same, not allowing developers to open VoIP applications on 3G! Does that, means anything to you?

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      1. I’m pretty sure its because of the contract between apple and at&t. At&t opened it up, but still has the same contract with apple which states: no voip on 3g.

        Apple is bound by old at&t policies.. hopefully when(if) contract is renewed.. it will be updated to reflect changes…

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    2. Way too reasonable for conspiracy-heads.

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      1. Ummm, did you read the article??

        Nimbuzz has been updated. Apple rejects because it does VoIP over 3G.

        Apple’s SDK agreement still prohibits these Apps.

        AT&T and most carriers around the world have no problem with VoIP.

        Apple rejected these Apps.

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    3. This is EXACTLY what we need to know instead of just pointing fingers at Apple, like all the cool kids are doing these days. Have all these developers re-submitted their apps to be compatible w/ VOIP over 3G? If so, have they been rejected?

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      1. Yes, as it says in the article, the Apps have been resubmitted and rejected.

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  6. Hi Om, I am an Orange customer in France, and neither Skype nor Truphone work in 3G mode. In fact, the latter seems to bug-out and shuts down unexpectedly.
    I tend to agree with Mike, and I imagine that blocking IP-voice calls is probably part of the deal that Apple has brokered with the various mobile operators. After all, as an operator would you let in a handset supplier who’s device was a threat to your core business, without some sort of relevant initial agreement?
    In any case, I’m sure that continued pressure for new or alternative (i.e. innovative and/or lower-cost) communications services will continue shaping the market.
    With that in mind, I think the the real question is when will operators start thinking of themselves as mobile broadband providers?

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  7. This is the operator (AT&T). Apps or firmware probably need to be updated to reflect new policy.

    Networks in other parts of the world allow VOIP over 3G on iPhone.

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    1. No, you are wrong.

      AT&T now allows Voice Over IP over 3G.
      The Apps have been updated and resubmitted.

      Apple continues to reject Apps with VoIP over 3G.

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      1. Uhm, not so fast – nowhere in the article does it say the apps have been re-submitted, and rejected. Quote: “Apple actually did not approve the 3G calling…”, which is what they have done since day one – not allow 3G calling in their SDK license agreement.

        Do you have any other evidence?

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    2. You’re wrong, at least about what’s going on in Italy. Here, even if you have a no-contract whatsoever iPhone (SIM unlocked), therefore with no middle-man between the user and Apple, you can’t do VoIP, no matter which app you run.
      I paid 700€ for my iPhone 3Gs 32Gb just to avoid mobile operators hassles and what did I get? The same, sucky treatment of all the other fellows which are restrained into a binding contract with mobile operators.

      It’s just Apple’s choice.

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  8. I don’t personally have an IPhone but from what I read, Line2 product from toktumi works on IPhone 3G, Is this not true? They surely promote it at http://www.line2.com, or is this just apple inconsistencies?

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  9. VoIP over 3G is not working in Europe either, same error message. Technically it is not a problem at all (jailbreaked versions of the iPhone show that e.G. Skype it works perfectly fine and with excellent line quality, too!).

    The problem is money and interests of the telcos. Most still see VoIP as a big threat because they will basically loose any long distance calls to the VoIP systems.

    The old story about bandwidth problems and network congestions is also a big shaky: Why would e.g. T-Mobile Germany offer a free to use app with live German TV stations and live German soccer coverage over 3G if it feared the relatively smaller traffic from VoIP over its 3G network?! The ones to blame are the Telcos who, although loving the sales figures and new contracts they make with Apple’s iPhone, still also see it as a big future threat to their traditional business and unless iPhones and iPhone-like smart phones become really commonplace, won’t change their hesitation about the new possibilities these new phones might offer.

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