Monday, April 6, 2009

Skype for iPhone limitation, Free Press to rescue

Ok by this time everyone who has tried Skype on iPhone must be disappointed by the fact that it can be used only via Wi-Fi network and not 3G network . Is that a technical limitation? No not really, (Maybe Quality of servic could be an issue). This is a limitation/restriction imposed by Apple to please the operators. From an operator standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to allow users using their 3G network for making voice calls. This is a big NO NO! Users of iPhone have unlimited data package and majority of them would have subscribed for a limited voice call minutes. So by allowing voice calls via AT&T 3G networks is going to seriously erode their voice revenue. And don’t forget, international calling is another big cash cow for the operators. So this is a no-brainer decision coming from the operator. And for Apple, they don’t want to piss off the operators. They need operators love and its mutual.

Apparently there is more bad news for skype in Europe. Deutsche telekom AG, Apples iPhone provider in some European countries, said Thursday it may prevent T-Mobile subscribers from using skype even on Wi-Fi Network. AT&T is still liberal compared to T-Mobile. Look’s like this restriction has not gone well with public-policy maker and consumer advocates. The free press sent a letter to the acting Chairman Michael J.Copps, FCC expressing concerns over wireless operators violating Commissions internet policy statement. Check out the Free Press letter here.

According to UsaToday, this is what AT&T had to say about the whole issue:

“Jim Cicconi, AT&T's top public policy executive, says AT&T has "every right" not to promote the services of a wireless rival.
"We absolutely expect our vendors" — Apple, in this case — "not to facilitate the services of our competitors," he says.
"Skype is a competitor, just like Verizon (VZ) or Sprint (S) or T-Mobile," he says, adding, Skype "has no obligation to market AT&T services. Why should the reverse be true?"

Mobile VoIP restriction restriction has been there for a while now and skype’s restriction was not a big surprise to me. I don’t think this big hue and cry about blocking VoIP is going anywhere. These restrictions will go away as soon as operators find a way to charge the subscriber for voice calls usage via data network. Till then we will have to live with this limitation.

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Anonymous said...

Why should the operator feel for skype, which in many ways is a competitor in disguise to all these operators.
On a side note Skype should start supporting open standards instead of using closed protocols. Maybe, Free press should pursue Skype to be open than going after operators.

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