05 April 2009

Skype: German Telecom Bans Use of Skype on the iPhone

02 04 2009 - Germany's Deutsche Telekom has banned the use of Skype's VoIP application on Apple, Inc.'s iPhone just two days after its release. Deutsche Telekom warned that iPhone users caught calling with Skype face suspension. Skype said its application was downloaded from Apple's App Store more than 600,000 times and was number one in Germany.

Λες... άμα ξεθαρέψουν να κάνουν και εδώ τα ίδια ???

Just two days after announcing an application for Apple's iPhone and iPod touch, Skype has hit a roadblock. On Thursday, Deutsche Telekom, a German wireless provider, banned use of the application on the iPhone and said anyone caught using it will face a contract suspension.

Skype, owned by eBay, has more than 405 million registered users who communicate for free by voice, video calls, and instant messages.

Deutsche Telekom, which has exclusive rights to the iPhone in Germany through its T-Mobile business, said iPhone contracts block Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls, which Skype uses. The blocking has been in the contracts since 2007, spokesperson Alexander von Schmettow told the Associated Press.

Schmettow said using the iPhone application, which offers free Skype-to-Skype calls and fee-based calls to mobile devices and landlines, could slow down T-Mobile's network.

Blatant Blocking

Skype's legal counsel, Robert Miller, charged that Deutsche Telekom is using technology as an excuse to blatantly block Skype. He insisted the network is not slowed.

Nearly 24 hours after being made available, the free application had more than 600,000 downloads through Apple's App Store, according to Skype.

"What amazes me is that Skype is the number-one download on the App Store in Germany, and yet the country's dominant telecom operator, Deutsche Telekom, has already made it known that it would block the use of Skype on iPhone and BlackBerry, both for its mobile network customers and at its Wi-Fi hot spots," Miller wrote in a blog post.

"I find it quite telling that Deutsche Telekom would be so bold as to announce this arbitrary blocking of Skype," he said. "They pretend that their action has to do with technical concerns; this is baseless. Skype works perfectly well on iPhone, as hundreds of thousands of people globally can already readily attest."

Worlds Collide

"It underscores the tension as technology becomes available on the handset," said Michael Gartenberg, vice president of strategy and analysis for Interpret. "The VoIP idea was a nonissue for carriers at first. When you have Skype running on your iPhone, you have a sub-challenger on your device, and that is something that carriers around the world will have to come to terms with."

In this case, German customers will not be able to switch providers because, like Deutsche Telekom, other mobile operators in Germany forbid VoIP applications, according to Miller.

Neither German nor European Union regulations forbid Deutsche Telekom's ban and new legislation for telecoms that the EU may adopt later this month may make it worse, according to Miller.

Together with other companies such as Google, Yahoo, DailyMotion and PriceMinster, and with backing from consumer associations, Skype is trying to change things. The companies are asking the European Parliament and EU governments to protect user rights and preserve an open Internet.

"These are worlds that will continue to collide as functionality converges on the handset," Gartenberg said. "It will be interesting to see how it plays out over time."

Source: Top Tech News

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