AT&T (iPhone) Supports VoIP Isn’t the Story


Lots of news today about the AT&T; restriction on voice over data being lifted. Here is a story from GigaOm, in case you missed the frenzy.

A couple of points from Pin Drop Soup.

First off, this really isn’t news. AT&T; promised it months ago. The story should be what took so long.

But the real story is how soon, everything will be data. The concept of voice is an anachronism.

There is also a related story about the cellular walls are crumbling. That story I published earlier today on It talks about how cell companies are losing their stranglehold on the customer and manufacturers.

Everything is (becoming) data is the point of this post. Corporate voice is VoIP, photos are JPGs, Music files are WAV or MP3. Books and periodicals are virtual. Videos are MP4 (or one of 500 other formats). Even radio and television is streaming.

Our networks are pushing bits of data – and that can be anything. There are huge ramifications to this – particularly to copyright and distribution players. And to the consumer as well.

The very notion of x minutes/month and unlimited data plans made sense when I used my cell phone in my buggy whip, but not today. The new iPad’s real news was the concept of a data only plan. Oh the poetic balance- an AT&T; data only plan followed by announcement that AT&T; supports voice over data.

Today, I made two calls on my SipDroid phone. It uses data over 3G or WiFi. I can also use Fring, TruPhone, and Skype to make calls without using any minutes – and do. There are also options optimized to use domestic minutes for international long distance. See Long Distance Choice is Back.

A few weeks ago, headlines were AT&T; emploring the FCC to kill the (analog) PSTN. That would really bum me out though as I have some great rotary phones that I believe should work forever. But perhaps their time has come. The sad thing is they will physically last longer than any phone made today.

There has been a major shift toward SIP trunks – most VoIP systems were still connecting to T1 and analog lines just a year or so ago (based on personal observation), but now it is all SIP and momentum is building.

It is a world of data. The next generation of wireless networks (4G?) will have far better support for voice over data.

Unfortunately, the carriers seem to know this too. Most of them are actively placing caps on their unlimited data plans. Even wired carriers like Comcast are limiting their unlimited data – so perhaps I won’t be able to truly benefit from my unlimited downloads from Netflix. AT&T; runs campaigns that you get to save your unused minutes… hmmm. Even they don’t want them back.

Related Reading:
Megatrends: Dematerialization
Will Amazon Inherit the World?
Is the Internet to Blame for the Recession?

Dave Michels