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AT&T pulls a 180 on iPhone Internet calls

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In a much-lauded reversal, AT&T on Tuesday announced that it would allow consumers to access Internet telephone services such as Skype from their iPhones. The network does currently permit iPhone use of Skype, but only via Wi-Fi. Now, you'll be able to get to Internet voice applications with a regular old 3G connection.

"iPhone is an innovative device that dramatically changed the game in wireless when it was introduced just two years ago,” Ralph de la Vega, the chief executive of AT&T’s consumer and wireless unit, said in a statement. “Today’s decision was made after evaluating our customers’ expectations and use of the device compared to dozens of others we offer.”

In late July, Apple rejected an application called Google Voice – days after Google announced a similar app for Android and BlackBerry. Google Voice is a service which allows users to read message transcripts, follow along with “karaoke-style” playback of messages, and read SMS messages sent to a Google accounts.

In an interview with Reuters, Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris lauded the AT&T decision."We are very happy that AT&T is now supporting VoIP applications," 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."

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