Vodafone delivers ‘visual voicemail’ to Aussie iPhone owners

If you’ve got an iPhone with Vodafone checking your voicemail is about to become a bit more enjoyable – and you’ve also gained another cool new feature to show off to your friends.

Visual voicemail which Apple introduced on the original iPhone in June 2007 is this week being rolled out to all of Vodafone’s iPhone customers. It’s an application which ties into a telco’s voicemail service to provide a graphical UI for managing your voicemail.

Forget about tapping tiny numeric buttons and trying to recall which key activates which function. The iPhone’s voicemail screen provides a list of who called (based on caller ID and your address book) and when with VCR-like buttons to play skip and delete messages.

This is indeed the way voicemail should be on every mobile phone. So why is that not the case?

Visual voicemail relies on very close cooperation between the carrier and the phone – such as having new voicemails sent to the phone as an audio file and the phone sending commands back to the carrier to mark messages as read or deleted.

This feature is thus usually reserved for devices tied to a single exclusive carrier which is the case in the US with AT&T and also the Vodafone-only BlackBerry Storm. Kudos then to Vodafone for adding this real differentiator to its iPhone service.

Vodafone says the rollout will be completed by close of business this Friday May 29. Customers will receive a text message when the service is pushed out to their iPhone so they can download and start using the visual voicemail app. For more on Vodafone Visual Voicemail click to www.vodafone.com.au/personal/iphone/features/visualvoicemail.