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Apple says no VoIP apps for iPhone yet

More than one month ago, AT&T announced it would run competing Internet voice applications for the iPhone on its network. The phone giant was showered with kudos from federal regulators and consumer groups. The announcement was seen as a milestone in a contentious debate over Internet access rules that would prevent network service providers like AT&T from blocking applications.

Today, VoIP applications Skype, Nimbuzz, Truphone and Fring still don’t work on the iPhone outside of WiFi hotspots. And it looks like the holdup is in Cupertino, the headquarters of Apple, which tightly controls its applications store and any software that is downloaded onto the iPhone. Apple's iPhone is partnered exclusively with AT&T's wireless service.

AT&T told me that they’ve informed Apple of their decision on Oct. 6 to allow VoIP apps on their network – a direct competitor of their cash cow, wireless voice services. A spokesman said any questions about why VoIP isn’t 3G enabled should go to Apple.

Apple didn’t say much more, with any clear sense of when users will be able to make free or cheap international calls over these Internet services.

Spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said in an email:

“We are still working on the update to our developer agreements in order to get VoIP apps on the App Store as soon as possible.”

By Cecilia Kang  |  November 11, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  AT&T , FCC , Mobile , Net Neutrality  | Tags: apple, at&t, iphone, skype, voip  
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