That's the point!
["Think of Skype as a kind of parasitic virus that threatens to bring the host to its knees" --- cool, that's the idea. When you are at home using broadband or have wifi somewhere else, just use Skype coz it makes more financial sense, £0!]
Financial sense for the user, but not for the network. When you are buying broadband, you are just buying a pipe with no additional services. When buying mobile, you are buying much more, and the mobile business model depends upon you using these additonal services. Why should the mobile network support a free competing service which could consume all the bandwidth?
["Well, Skype has no network of its own" --- has no "physical" network of its own. That's the point, it uses the incumbents' network in a p2p fashion, that's how those filesharing software work, but Skype sends voice data packets instead of hmm (illegal) filesharing data packets.]
Exactly, it doesn't have a network, so it can hardly complain when the network owners choose to limit it's use!
["And because Skype has next to no income," --- You got any proof of that coz Skype has a host of fee-paying services. I don't use all of them, but i use the pay-as-u-go option, more when I'm in a different country, Skype beats roaming charges.]
Compared to the mobiles (making £100's from each user), skype makes a few pounds from each user.
["and because its users can melt away as rapidly as they joined, it has no chance of attracting the capital investment needed to build a real network of its own" --- customer loyalty, you really have to prove that! I joined Skype after reading an article in The Economist boasting the voice quality and reliability of this software. I have been with Skype since v1.0 and got a lot of people to use it too, starting with my folks who live on the side of the planet (am in London).]
The thing is, Skype is just software, which means that another will be along anytime soon. Remember how the search engine of choice was Altavista, then yahoo, now Google? Internet users are very fickle, when all you've got is an internet brand, then you've got nothing.
["...Skype, it found its fool in the shape of Meg Whitman of eBay..." --- I think it's safer to say that eBay is still figuring out a good business plan to make money out of Skype (post acquisition). It's not as simple as auctioning gadgets/clothes u know and you can't expect a financial miracle this soon.]
If there was 'real' money to be made, then it would be making it. The fact is Skype have changed the market by making the fixed line Telcos cheaper, but that's about it.
["Hutchison has been pushing VoIP to the trapdoor for a while now." --- it's been a defensive move adopted by most Telcos. They want to block Skype traffic coz they know what Skype did to the landline Telcos. Whether this move is right/legal to do so is something else. If you want an analogy, think of Microsoft. (I have a feeling that you (the author) are biased towards 3-network, are they paying or something?)]
Of course the Telcos want to block the traffic. It's a competing business which is trying to use *their* network resource free-of-charge. Do you have any idea how much it costs to design, plan and build a single radio mast? How about the core infrastructure? How about the original spectrum licenses? Why should the networks provide this free of charge to a competing business. How does this differ from Marks & Spencers stocking clothes from 'Next', providing the shops, sales staff, heating, lighting, but then giving all the profit to 'Next'? As consumers we wouldn't expect M& S to do this, so why do we expect Telcos to do the same?