Big Changes Coming for Google Voice and iPhone Users Follow Dec 11, 2009 · 2 mins read
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All sorts of announcements came out yesterday indicating that Google Voice may finally be coming to the iPhone. If rumors are true, both AT&T and Apple seem poised to lift their bans on VoIP applications like Google Voice and Skype being used over cellular data networks.

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The biggest news was AT&T’s confirmation that it has “taken the steps necessary so that Apple can enable VoIP applications on iPhone to run on AT&T’s wireless network.” Previously, VoIP was only allowed over WiFi. This means that if Apple approves it, Google Voice could work just like any other calling app when using AT&T’s 3G network.

Rumors suggest AT&T may make an official announcement at CITA this week in San Diego. The wireless conference will see key executives, including two slated for keynote speeches, have the opportunity to reveal major policy changes. All signs point to AT&T announcing support for VoIP apps on all their phones, including the hotly anticipated addition of Google Voice to the iPhone.

Verizon isn’t far behind in Google Voice plans either. They recently partnered with Google to carry Android phones on their network. The first, the Tao, is expected to launch this month and will include full Google Voice integration. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdams confirmed two Google phones coming this year with Voice support.

Google itself seems pleased with Verizon’s openness compared to other carriers. CEO Eric Schmidt praised Verizon’s data network and scale, calling their willingness to support innovative services “enormously surprising.” If Verizon delivers on their promises, they may gain an edge over AT&T by being first to market with a true Google Voice experience.

Pressure has clearly been mounting on AT&T and Apple to change their stances. A recent FCC investigation into blocking Google Voice likely contributed to their apparent willingness to now enable VoIP apps. If AT&T confirms support as rumored, it would mean Google Voice and Skype could finally be used without WiFi on the iPhone.

This would be a landmark moment that many users have long awaited. No longer would the iPhone experience be limited compared to Android phones with full Voice integration. It remains to be seen if Apple will actually approve the necessary software changes, but AT&T’s move suggests they may relent to pressure.

Stay tuned for any official announcements from AT&T and Apple. But it seems clear that between new Android partnerships and regulatory scrutiny, the mobile carriers are slowly being forced to embrace innovative services like Google Voice. iPhone users may soon enjoy the same rich communication options as other smartphone owners. Exciting changes appear to be coming for VoIP and mobile users everywhere.

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