Om Malik is advancing a new theory to explain why Apple isn’t allowing VoIP on 3G applications to be approved in the App Store. Voice quality, he writes, may be the reason. Citing industry figures like my good friends Andy Abramson, Karl Good, and Pat Phelan, who have all written about the quality of VoIP on 3G, Om speculates that Apple and AT&T are simply doing this for our own good. VoIP on 3G isn’t good enough yet, and Uncle Steve knows it!
It’s not the network that’s the problem. On many occasions in the past I’ve used Truphone on 3G from a Nokia N95. All through Fall DEMO 2008, Truphone with an unlimited AT&T data plan was the way I phoned home to Canada, avoiding Rogers’ roaming long distance charges. The experience was great, excepting that the calls don’t roam the way that a standard cellular call does.
3G suffers from the same problems as WiFi — variable bandwidth, unpredictable latency, and lack of roaming. So why ban VoIP on 3G, but not WiFi? Perhaps it’s a flaw in the iPhone 3GS itself, who knows!
To borrow a Canadian phrase popular among radio hosts from another era, the idea that VoIP on 3G isn’t good enough is horse hockey gentleman, pure horse hockey!