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AT&T to allow VoIP iPhone apps on 3G network

AT&T and Apple clear the way for iPhone users to begin using VoIP apps on its wireless network.

AT&T on Tuesday said it has made the necessary changes to enable voice over IP iPhone apps to run on its wireless network.

Before Tuesday, VoIP apps would only work over a Wi-Fi network. In other words, if you wanted to use Skype to call a friend, you had to be connected to a regular Internet wireless network. Once you were out of range of that network, the call would end.

AT&T said it informed Apple and the Federal Communications Commission of its decision Tuesday afternoon. For its part, Apple was quick to react and make its own changes.

"We are very happy that AT&T is now supporting VoIP applications," Apple spokesperson Natalie Kerris said. "We will be amending our developer agreements to get VoIP apps on the App Store and in customers' hands as soon as possible."

There are already quite a few VoIP apps available in the App Store, like Skype, Vonage, and Truphone, but they only work over Wi-Fi. Developers will need to enable the apps to work over AT&T's wireless network and then re-submit them to the App Store.

Of course, the application that everyone will be wondering about is Google Voice. Tuesday's decision may not have much of an effect on that situation because Google Voice isn't really a VoIP application. Google's app still uses your wireless network minutes, but the service does offer other benefits like receiving calls to a single number in multiple places.