We reported last week on internet voice service provider Truphone’s mobile app that enables Voice over IP phone calling over WiFi using Apple’s iPod Touch. Wednesday, the company announced availability of Truphone Anywhere, an update to its iPhone app that lets iPhone users make VoIP calls “even if you’re not connected to WiFi or a 3G network.”
With TruPhone Anywhere you pay for a local connection – meaning your call is routed to the cellular network – before the rest of the call is connected using VoIP. Change-o, presto: cheap international calling is here.
Except that it’s been here for more than a year. San Francisco-based service provider RF.com has enabled the same type of calling with any VoIP provider (Skype me, anyone?), and even Asterisk, since shortly after the debut of the original iPhone.
Another mobile VoIP provider, JAJAH, had an app to enable VoIP-completed cellular calling ready for the AppStore launch this past July, but Apple rejected it “because the VoIP service is active over the cellular network, which as outlined in the iPhone SDK Agreement section 3.3.15 is prohibited: ‘If an Application requires or will have access to the cellular network, then additionally such Application: – May not have Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) functionality,” according to JAJAH spokesman Fredrick Hermann.
Perhaps Apple is less concerned with enforcing the SDK’s VoIP via cellular prohibition today; perhaps Truphone’s “Anywhere” functionality slipped through, or perhaps its app will be pulled from the AppStore tomorrow, or next week. As usual, Apple isn’t saying anything publicly.
Either way, VoIP over iPhone is here to stay.