Can Rogers really prevent VOIP over 3G?

This was certainly news to me, though it isn’t terribly surprising. It turns out Rogers is blocking apps like Skype from providing VOIP (voice over IP) services over their 3G network.

Rogers already blocks purchases of the Skype app for the iPhone from the app store (though they failed to notice the other VOIP apps freely available like truphone and fring). Nonetheless, it is a relatively simple process to get a U.S. app store account. However, it turns out you can enable Skype and other VOIP apps if you have a jailbroken phone.

Recently, my friend Richard asked if I could get it to work over 3G. I said I assumed I could but immediately got a message fro Skype telling me their service was not available over 3G do to licensing restrictions, or some such crap. Honestly, I don’t see this as a big loss. I think people would be surprised at how poor the quality of VOIP is over 3G. Even in Canada where the Rogers 3G network is significantly faster than that of AT&T in the U.S. the reliability of 3G is still pretty poor compared to most wifi.

3G, while fast is a long distance wireless TCP/IP network and wireless networks are inherently bursty. Your phone calls are carefully coded and prioritized for voice QoS (quality of service) on the network, but your 3G is not, it is just TCP packets prioritized for data.

Still I am curious to know how bad VOIP would be over 3G, so I guess this is another reason to go through the somewhat complex process of jailbreaking my iPhone. Maybe this week I’ll give it a shot

Update: Turns out jailbreaking is not a complex process, I was confusing it with carrier unlocking. Check out my more recent post on the jb process.

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