Apple and AT&T might have the industry's most innovative internet-enabled phone, but their position on internet-based calling has been downright Luddite this year. The iPhone's keepers have tried to stiff-arm apps like Google Voice and Skype that would allow cheap online calling and they were all foot-draggy to accept music streamers like Rhapsody and Spotify this year.
But today AT&T announced it will finally allow users to download Skype and other programs that offer cheap, internet-based calling on its 3G network. This announcement comes about 24 hours after Verizon announced a significant partnership with Google to develop smartphones with Google Voice and internet-calling. Competition! Capitalism! It's all happening.
The new policy is limited to VoIP [ed: That's "voice over Internet protocol," which just means you're talking to somebody over the interwebs]. Speaking to Ars Technica, AT&T said that it would still not be allowing video streaming or other high-bandwidth applications over 3G, including the currently gelded SlingPlayer. One day we may see it, but the Death Star moves slowly.