Skype using 3G doesn’t work on the iPhone. FRUSTRATING !

by Jeff Wiener on October 24, 2009

iPhone 3GFRUSTRATED is probably the best word to describe my reaction to my first experience with Skype on the iPhone. Skype is a great technology – use it all the time, and have written quite extensively on the technology. Skype’s VoIP is a revolutionary technology that will change the face of communication moving forward. So is the iPhone. Combine the two technologies and what do you get – FRUSTRATED.

Skype on the iPhone using Wi-Fi works great. Skype using 3G doesn’t work. When you initiate a call using Skype on the iPhone you get the following message:
“You need WiFi to call over Skype. Skype calls over 3G networks are currently not allowed due to contractual restrictions”

It appears that the carriers, AT&T in the US, Rogers in Canada, have blocked the Skype application from being used over the 3G network. Apparently the only solution is to jailbreak your iPhone, a path I am personally not going to take.

This move is uncompetitive, monopolistic, and non consumer friendly. AT&T and Rogers have a monopoly on the iPhone in their respective markets, and they aren’t giving consumers the choice of where and how they should spend their dollars. Rogers, and AT&T should be regulated like the utilities that they are. The carrier controls both the pipeline and the content on the pipeline, and when that happens these uncompetitive moves are the end result.

I understand that the carrier has a right to sell the data package for a set fee. Agreed. They shouldn’t have the right to decide what they throttle, and which applications aren’t allowed.

What I have objection to is the carriers selectively choosing certain applications, specifically the ones which compete with their own services, as the ones which need to be throttled. Voice over IP, and Internet TV is specifically sited as the traffic the carriers would like to throttle. VoIP services, like Skype, cost the carriers long distance revenue, and Internet TV cost the carriers lost cable revenue. For them to selectively decide to throttle that specific bandwidth is anti-competitive and the government should step in. They should treat all bandwidth equally, and charge network usage on a fair basis, not based on kind of traffic.

I have a problem with the carrier controlling the pipeline and the content on that pipeline and selectively choosing which services to throttle based on anti-competitive measures. I don’t have a problem with the carrier publishing rates for usage and speed.

Again, I ask – why are consumers standing for this ?

The new carriers, Dave Wireless, Public Mobile, and Wind Mobile can do something about this. They can make a difference. Let’s hope.

Looking to jailbreak your iPhone ? Check this out on

Written by: Jeff Wiener. Follow by: RSS, Twitter,, or Friendfeed

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

George October 24, 2009 at 12:07 pm

“AT&T Relents, Opens iPhone to Skype, VoIP
By Ryan Singel October 6, 2009 | 6:31 pm | Categories: Mobile Internet
Bowing to openness pressure from the FCC, AT&T renounced on Tuesday its opposition to internet telephone calls that use the iPhone’s 3G data connection.

In short, Skype on the iPhone is now OK by AT&T, the company said in letters to Apple and the FCC.”

It seems Skype has not updated it app yet.

Peter Parkes (Skype Blogger) October 24, 2009 at 12:30 pm

AT&T announced that it’s going to allow Skype calls over 3G a few weeks ago – progress at last 🙂

Andrew October 24, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Rogers has stated publicly they will support Skype calling over 3G, Apple is blocking this functionality not Rogers.

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