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Apple now allowing iPhone apps to make VoIP calls over 3G networks

In an update to its iPhone SDK, Apple is now permitting apps to make VoIP calls over 3G wireless networks, an option that was once only available over a WiFi connection.

According to a press release issued Wednesday by iCall, Apple has revised its SDK to allow VoIP calls over cellular networks. This is a major change from Apple's previous agreement with AT&T which only allowed VoIP communications over a WiFi connection.

Back in October, AT&T announced that it would open up its 3G network to VoIP applications on the iPhone, and it appears that Apple is just now taking action.

iCall's VoIP application is, according to the release, "the first and only VoIP application that functions on the iPhone and iPod Touch over cellular 3G networks."

Previously, as part of a concession made to AT&T, Apple's terms for software approval on the App Store prohibited VoIP-based applications like Skype from utilizing networks operated by wireless carriers.

In April, internet advocacy group Free Press asked the FCC to investigate both AT&T and Apple over claims that both companies were violating federal net-neutrality protection.

AppleInsider also reported in October that increased pressure from the FCC over net neutrality could have contributed to AT&T's decision to change its policy with Apple.

iCall CEO Arlo Gilbert is quoted as saying, "I applaud Apple's decision to allow iCall to extend its functionality beyond Wi-Fi and onto the 3G networks. This heralds a new era for VoIP applications on mobile platforms, especially for iCall and our free calling model. I hope that now more developers will begin using our VoIP as a platform to integrate VoIP into their applications."