Developers release 3G-friendly VoIP iPhone apps
Quietly coinciding with last week’s iPad announcement, Apple lifted restrictions that had prevented voice over IP (“VoIP”) apps for iPhone OS from running on 3G networks. Last October, AT&T announced that it would begin allowing VoIP applications to run on its 3G network, following which Apple noted that it would be updating its developer agreements and SDK to allow 3G support “as soon as possible.”
In response, three developers have now released VoIP-over-3G capable versions of their apps: iCall was the first to announce Wednesday that its iCall application for the iPhone and iPod touch would begin allowing “unrestricted free local and long distance calling over 3G data networks” via a new version of the application, which is available for free in the App Store. The iCall v1.2.5 update also adds Push Notification support to allow users to receive incoming calls even when the application is not running.
Following the iCall announcement, Fring announced that its popular VoIP and video calling application would also now provide 3G support, and Acrobits made a similar announcement regarding its Softphone app. Both developers indicated that the applications already provided VoIP-over-3G support within the applications, but that they had not been allowed to enable the functionality due to Apple’s previous SDK restrictions. As a result, no update to these applications was required to enable 3G support. Fring is available as a free download from the App Store, while Acrobits’ SoftPhone sells for $8 on the App Store.
In addition, Justin Brady, the developer of WalkieTalkie VoIP has also indicated that an update to allow calls over 3G is pending review by Apple. Notably, the most popular provider of VoIP services, Skype, has not yet commented on when a 3G-compatible version of its app will be available for the iPhone.
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