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While Apple (s AAPL) and AT&T (s T) have started allowing VoIP apps on the iPhone to use the 3G data network, it seems like the big kahuna, Skype, is staying away from making any such move for now, arguing it wants to wait till it can give decent audio performance. From the Skype blog:
You may have seen other apps offering calls over 3G, but we’re holding ours back for a little bit longer. Why? So that we can give you the very best audio quality we can. When our 3G-capable Skype for iPhone app is released, it’ll let you make calls in wideband audio, giving you greater clarity and fidelity – because that’s what you expect from Skype.
In other words, don’t expect Skype to offer a version that allows calls over 3G in the near term, though the company had made it abundantly clear that it will be releasing a 3g version of the app . We had earlier pointed out that Skype over 3G wasn’t working.
Earlier this year, thanks to our friends Andy Abramson and Pat Phelan, we offered up an alternative theory about VoIP over 3G : “The voice-over-3G experience is so bad, it makes sense for Apple, AT&T and others to not even bother with VoIP over 3G.” Skype it seems is merely agreeing with that alternative theory and making sure that its app actually works as expected over 3G connections.
Skype is also looking at developing a version of Skype for the Apple iPad. As the same blog post notes:
Last Thursday, Apple introduced the iPad, which we’re very excited about here at Skype. David Ponsford, who features in the video above, and his team are reviewing the device and its specs, and you can expect to hear more from us about Skype for iPad in due course. What does this have to do with calling over 3G? The SDK (Software Development Kit) which Apple provides to developers like Skype has been upgraded for the iPad. The new version, 3.2, removes the restrictions on calling over 3G, which is great news.