VoIP on the iPhone: Not yet legal, but here

Most users love their iPhones. Fewer love AT&T’s mobile service. So what if you could use your iPhone without using AT&T’s cellular network? Better yet, what if you could talk use it to talk for free over the Internet? Behold, the power of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) on mobile devices.

Mobile communication platform Fring says it has made the first VoIP application that is publicly available for the iPhone. Now, before you go getting all excited, there is fine print.

You will need to “jailbreak” your iPhone to use the app. Jailbreaking is the process in which you basically hack the iPhone’s operating system to grant you access to install third party applications. Obviously Apple does not support this, and many of the company’s regular updates have removed the functionality that a jailbreak brings.

Fring clearly tries to downplay this jailbreaking part (which they term “open”) by making you go to no less than three separate pages to from their announcement to get directions on how to install the application. When you finally get there, you’ll see the sly first step:

In order to install fring, you need to have your iPhone “opened” first to accept 3rd party applications.
Refer to the Internet for details.

Ah yes, “refer to the Internet for details.” Fring isn’t going to tell you, because that would be illegal.

Still, if you happen to have an iPhone that is already “open” you may want to check out Fring’s new VoIP application. That should hold you over until the official 3rd party VoIP apps developed with the iPhone’s SDK (software development kit) start coming out this summer — which undoubtedly will include Fring.

Find more of our coverage on VoIP on mobile phones here.


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