It seems strange that with a phone as advanced as the iPhone that something as important as voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) would be slow in coming. But it has. The reason why is because of a strategic decision by Apple to prohibit the use of iPhone SIP over cellular networks. Instead, iPhone SIP was forced to use wireless networks (wi-fi) only. In fact, for some time, Apple even refused to support third party development of iPhone SIP applications. Luckily, Apple recently relaxed its lack of support and now iPhone users can even download iPhone SIP apps from the Apple iPhone store. Unfortunately, iPhone SIP still only works with wi-fi networks. Never the less, much to the joy of those who have long been waiting for iPhone SIP, there are now multiple options.
Why does anyone even care about iPhone SIP? Because SIP, or Session Initiation Protocol, enables users to make phone calls to any location in the world over the Internet and avoid using up expensive and valuable traditional cellular minutes. Of course, the very same reason users want iPhone SIP is the reason that Apple and AT&T have worked to prevent it. AT&T has feared that the ever increasing use of iPhone SIP will erode its profits from cell minutes. While the fear is probably justified, it is becoming less and less of an issue as Apple’s new willingness to support third party development of iPhone SIP applications has lead to the recent announcements by many SIP companies of big product launches. Skype, for example, recently launced services for iPHone. This is seen as an indication that more are on the way.
SIP technology is capable of much more than simply telephone calls. Many hope that application developers will take full advantage of the multi-media capabilities as well as simply iPhone SIP. Video calling, for example, is a real possibility in the future.
So what provider do you have to use in order to take advantage of iPhone SIP? The answer is, any provider that offers SIP. Fring is one popular choice as are Skype, SIPgate, and Nimbuzz. There are many others as well. You just need to do your homework and determine which plan is best for you.
No discussion of iPhone SIP would be complete without touching on the fact that with iPhone SIP you can now turn your iPod Touch into a telephone. Using SIP technology, you are able to access the same telephony services via wi-fi as you can on you iPhone. Now that is one big advantage.
While iPhone SIP may not be the perfect solution for VoIP, it is a darned good one. With more and more apps coming onto the market, it can only improve. Now you have yet another reason to be happy that you jumped on the iPhone bandwagon. So talk on. You aren’t even using your cell minutes!