Vonage iPhone app gets OK from Apple

Joins Skype and iCall but Google Voice still in VoIP limbo

Vonage now at home on the iPhone and iPod Touch

Another VoIP app has been approved by Apple for use on iPhone and iPod Touch - and it's not Google Voice.

All-you-can-talk voice service Vonage announced today that its app has been given the go-ahead for use on the iPhone.

Vonage charges a monthly subscription (from £6 in the UK or $25 in the US) for unlimited free calls to landlines, and some international numbers and mobiles.

A world of free calls

Vonage joins other VoIP services available in the App Store, such as Skype, iCall, FriendCaller and Nimbuzz - all of which use the gadget's Wi-Fi links to initiate calls. Apple has said that its agreement with AT&T in the US prohibits it from allowing a customer to use AT&T's mobile network to originate or terminate a VoIP session, without first getting AT&T's permission.

The US Federal Communications Commission launched an investigation after it thought that Apple had rejected Google Voice application. The FCC wanted to know whether AT&T had influenced the decision. However, Apple says that it still reviewing the Google Voice application, which apparently infringes other agreements with AT&T by uploading a user's entire phone book to Google's servers.

Whether or not Google Voice makes it to the App Store in its current form, two things are certain: Apple is happy to host VoIP services despite any grumblings from its exclusive mobile network partners; and Google is powerful enough to force an FCC investigation even before any wrong-doing has been demonstrated.

Vonage has said that it is currently conducting a beta test of its app and that general availability will be announced "at a later date".

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