AT&T finally gets the message. Now for European telcos…

From Good Morning Silicon Valley.

There now, that wasn’t so hard. In a change of heart, AT&T said Tuesday it would allow iPhone owners to use Internet voice applications like Skype across its 3G network, and all it took was the clamoring of customers, the threat of tougher competition and the specter of government intervention. The system works!

Concerned about losing revenue and adding to its traffic load, AT&T had initially imposed restrictions that limited the use of iPhone VoIP apps to Wi-Fi connections, even though it let some Windows Mobile phones use such apps across its network. The reversal, the company said, was not the result of a sudden epiphany, but the result of a “regular review of device features and capabilities.” “Today’s decision was made after evaluating our customers’ expectations and use of the device compared to dozens of others we offer,” said Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T’s mobility and consumer markets division. Yep, just an ordinary review that began back in August, right after the FCC sent a letter to the major carriers asking them to explain their policies on Internet telephony apps. With the FCC’s embrace of Net neutrality principles and now a Google-Verizon alliance making openness a key selling point, AT&T must have figured it was a bad time to look like an obstructionist.

Funny how things happen when the FCC takes an interest. OFCOM, are you listening?