Previously Skype and other Voice over IP (VoIP) applications for the iPhone, such as Fring, were relegated to Wi-Fi connections, prompting calls of foul play by consumers who often wanted to take advantage of features like the services’ cheaper rates for international calling. An FCC investigation was launched in April at the behest of Internet advocacy group Free Press, shortly after the Skype app was released for the iPhone.
Notably, the ban did not apply to non-iPhone devices on AT&T’s network. “Today’s decision was made after evaluating our customers’ expectations and use of the (iPhone) compared to dozens of others we offer,” AT&T Wireless CEO Ralph de la Vega told The Wall Street Journal.
The decision today does not apparently affect other applications that suffer from similar restrictions, such as the iPhone version of SlingPlayer Mobile, which allows users to stream video from their home devices only over Wi-Fi connections. Nor does it affect the contentious Google Voice service, which uses the standard telephone functions of the cellular network to route phone calls to and from users.