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back to article iPhone VoIP tussle heats up

Skype and its allies are fighting back against telcos that disallow or cripple its voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) service. At issue is Deutsche Telekom's edict that customers who use Skype's free VoIP service on their iPhone will have their internet access summarily severed and AT&T's refusal to allow Skype to work on its …

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Unhappy

Ahh... So it really is?

Ahhh ... so it really is the mobile service providers that are performing gross limitations on what hardware and software combinations are capable of doing?

C'mon guys flush it out with a good bout of honesty.

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Good reason

for a total boycott of AT&T who is clearly doing ILLEGAL blocking mesure. when you pay for internet access you are paying for the pipe. not IPS/telco as any right to DICTATE what software i can or cannot run on MY HARDWARE.

Those responcible for this farce at AT&T should ne jailled a once. the company be givien a huge fine and all contract CANCELLED.

But since this solution will solve the problem. (putting AT&T where is belong, OUT OF BUSINESS) it will never be used.

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Stop

T-Mobile

You've missed the point on the T-Mobile story. If Skype only works over Wifi on the iPhone, then how exactly could it slow down the T-Mobile network as they are claiming???? Telco morons...

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Silver badge

@D.A. and Yes, T-Mobile DE are morons.

Skype doesn't just work on iPhone, and it could work over any mobile network, if the network would allow it.

One such network who does (and this makes the T-Mobile DE guy a moron like you suggest) is T-Mobile UK on their Mobile Broadband "Extra" package (and have allowed it previosuly on their top tier Web N Walk packages).

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Alert

Nothing new

T-Mobile have had restrictions on VoIP for ages - depending on the package you paid for you may or may not be able to use it. Not really any different to the restrictions on using mobile data only from the phone, instead of as a modem.

Just to point out to Mectron and others - it's their network, they can make any rules they like. And if they choose to make certain services only available to customers paying extra, that's their business.

Actually Mectron, you're an idiot. They aren't restricting software on 'your' hardware, they're restricting network usage. Very different, and perfectly OK. And that rant about paying for unrestricted pipes and all those punishments you'd like is just wrong. I'd almost suspect a troll...

I could *maybe* see a problem if the restriction was on a particular application provider but a blanket block (as exists) doesn't seem such a big deal - they've decided they don't want something on their network and that's it. Or alternatively (depending on provider) you could always pay the premium and be allowed to used the technology.

Personally I have a contract with a very fat 'fair use' limit which explicitly allows VoIP so I don't have any problems!

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Can you say Internet Brand Network

As long as we are ditching the phone company...

Once you have good Internet, you don't need cable TV either.

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Proper labeling and advertising ...

AT&T needs to be forced to call their service "restricted access data plan". That would be fair. Then people signing up for a long contract will know that they will only have restricted access to the internet.

Some services need to be neutral, phone, electricity, gas.

If an electric company wanted to cut off services to a factory that provide parts for a competitor ... that would be wrong even though its their power lines and their services agreement ...

If your phone company decided to block call to and from their competitors that would be wrong even though its their equipment, and you agreed to their terms when you signed up for their service ....

I think that internet access should be treated like any other basic utility. It needs to be provided in a neutral fashion. When its not it needs to be labeled properly.

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Pirate

Morons of the world unite

VoIP uses more network resources than a normal voice call and in contrast to fixed-line services mobile data is still a limited commodity. So, it is reasonable for telco's to wish to restrict the use of software which affects network performance. We all know who'll get the blame from the leet VoIP users if the connection keeps breaking up as the data connection is dropped in order to maintain the legally required voice connection. It is also reasonable for them to wish to restrict the use of services that compete with their bread and butter of selling voice calls. As most operators provide reasonable deals on national calls because of the competition from other networks, international calls still carry a premium. Fortunately the European Commission has recognised this and introduced measures to reduce the level of extortion and companies like Ortel are already offering reliable and reasonably cheap international calls on mobile using a dedicated SIM. Viviane Reding wanted to make calls within the EU the same as national calls. Lobbying by the telco's of the national governments prevented this.

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Silver badge

The Sting in the Tail

Be careful what you wish for, you might get it, plus all the unintended consequences for the rest of us.

What will happen is that they'll end up allowing VoIP under pressure but drastically reduce the data allowance, so that you'll be paying more per minute for VoIP than you would for using their network. Plus it'll screw the rest of us who don't use VoIP because we'll end up with the lower data allowance as well.

I think T-Mobile already do a data plan where they allow VoIP, at least in the UK, they just charge more for it because they expect you to use more data bandwidth.

However, they shouldn't ban instant messaging, that's just to protect the lucrative SMS market where they can vastly overcharge for sending a few bytes of data.

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Tom
Silver badge

All we need is a bit of tunneling

I Hear U, GNU Httptunneling and a £3 headset and they'll be able to make free calls without pety restrictions* - as could you - and you can probably bluetooth from your IPhone to your laptop if you still need to pose.

* just the usual Fair Use bollix (like not actually flying the lear jet you thought you'd payed for)

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Silver badge
Flame

VOIP

It makes sense on WiFi and possibly on LTE, But not most Mobile networks as they exist.

But realistically EDGE/3G/HSPA/EVDO mobile can be very poor for SIP VOIP or Skype and the Sector of Cell will support maybe 1/10th as many calls. Latency is 90ms to 2000ms.

Also Data packages are artificially cheap. In Ireland the Data to User works out to User at about 150 times cheaper on Vodafone to 500 times cheaper on 3. The cost for the operator per MBybte is slightly higher for Data than regular voice calls.

So a service offered at a loss (Skype) has the potential to give the users a poorer service and force the operators to increase data charges by x 50 at least if voice & SMS revenue collapsed

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Boffin

Jeff Pulver? What about John Walker?

http://www.fourmilab.ch/speakfree/

Pulver may be one of pioneers in VoIP as seen by *recent* standards, i.e. SIP.

But John Walker's SpeakFreely was already 12 years old at its end of life in 2004. It was true open source (long before the term "open source" was coined) VoIP (before the term "VoIP" existed) p2p (before... well, you get it) internet telephone application that also used PGP encryption to secure the channel.

Some things where invented much earlier than people think. Just well forgotten.

Eugene

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Happy

cool?

so buy a iphone on contract, then use skype, and you get a free phone pretty much?

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Skype on a phone. Bollocks.

@ Mage.

I totally agree I might use Skype over Wi-FI but certainly would not bother over the phone network.

Skype doesn't interest me much anyway, unless you have a good setup the call sound terrible, the other reason is the device in my hand is a PHONE I can use it to make calls. Skype may have its uses with computers I am not excited about using it on a portable device.

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Black Helicopters

is it internet or not on the phone?

either they're offering the internet or they're not. if I'm paying for data, it doesn't matter what I use it for, surely?

the carriers would like us to go back to the "walled gardens" of yesteryear, which were such a marvellous success that they made loads of money from customers accessing their crappy content. oh wait, nobody used their services as they were expensive and crap! most people wouldn't even bother with their mobile operator's portal except for the fact that it's the default home page on the web browser on the phones that the operators have to cripple to stop their customers actually trying to use their service.

this is why I'll continue to buy nokia phones, as it's trivial to debrand them and install generic unfscked firmware!

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Paris Hilton

Consistent

The EU.

American monopoly company Microsoft is fined by the EU for abusing it monopoly position and not allowing it competitors access to its product.

Therefore it won't be too long until......

German monopoly company T-Mobile is fined by the EU for abusing it monopoly position and not allowing it competitors access to its product.

Hang on, I think I see a problem.....

Paris, who doesn't seem to mind who accesses her product

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Paris Hilton

@Mage

Top true,

I used to design Gprs and 3g schedung algos for a manufacturer. The issue is that voip I'd packet switched over the air. That requires scheduling to deal with the restricted over the air bandwidth, and the scheduling requires a lot of processing power. In comparison, circitrd switched voice is easier to do. So standard GSM voice is a no brained for an operator

Paris - why not!

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Anonymous Coward

Subsidised everything will end....

If mobile operators are forced to allow voip/skype/free im/sms then they won't be able to give you the data charges or call charges or handsets at the same price.

The users of mobile phones in general have to pay for the cost of operating the mobile networks + some profits for the operators. It dosen't matter what technology is delivered/used they still have to cover their operating costs otherwise there won't be any mobile networks.

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Flame

Cost argument

"If I can have effective VoIP which includes SMS messages and visual voicemail, free long distance for $60/year, why am I being charged $60/month (plus $30/month extra for data) from AT&T for less than that?"

Because Sykpe just leech off the telco's infrastructure - who pays for the masts, the backhaul, the kit that moves voice around the world ? Skype certainly doesn't. That's why they are cheaper than a real telco. It's simple economics regardless of your stance on the issue.

If I was a taxi driver but stole the car and steal petrol from garages then my running costs are lower than honest taxi drivers. So I charge less and get more business. Is it ethical ? Not as far as the honest taxi drivers are concerned. My customers welcome the lower cost however.

This is exactly the same as Sykpe (and infact all the VoIP providers) - they want everyone else to pay for the infrastructure so they can run services off it. If they are made to pay the same as a telco does for infrastructure costs then I can assure you, $60 a year will see Skype go bust before the end of the year, taking down eBay (mother company) as well no doubt.

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Network neutrality

Would that be the same T-Mobile who, in their American guise, are enthusiastic members of the VON Coalition (http://www.von.org/info.asp), a pressure group for favourable regulatory treatment of VoIP?

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