7 Comments

Summary:

Skype may be blocked for use by a wireless provider in the very country one of Skype’s founders, Niklas Zennström, is from. Sweden’s Telia is reportedly considering a block on Skype’s mobile video and VoIP services later this year unless customers pay an additional usage charge.

skype-blockerat

Skype may be blocked for use by a wireless provider in the very country one of its founders,Niklas Zennström, is from. Sweden’s Telia is reportedly considering a block on Skype’s mobile video and VoIP services later this year unless customers pay an additional usage charge. The situation has some Telia customers incensed enough that they’ve created a protest page on Facebook.

Last month, Telia spokesperson, Charlotte Züger, provided the first hint of the possible Skype block, speaking to Sveriges Radio: “It’s going to mean that there will be service plans where it’s not included so it won’t work. I believe, quite simply, that we need to be able to get paid for our various services no matter what, as different service plans include different things.” Such actions would likely apply to all other mobile VoIP services, as Telia would defend against losing voice plan revenues.

Telia appears committed to this path as I found this official Telia customer service response to the situation from April 19, translated from Swedish via Google Translate:

“Telia fully supports an open Internet that is accessible to all. Our customers will have the opportunity to use services of their choice, wherever they are, with high quality.

Our customers can now use mobile IP telephony and will continue to do so. Depending on your needs, you as the customer continued to be able to choose a subscription where mobile VoIP is included or choose a subscription which is not included and therefore need not pay for it. We will also launch an additional service for mobile VoIP to the consumer when the need arises.”

The response jives with other reports that a fee for mobile VoIP will only be charged to new customers while existing customers will be grandfathered in and allowed to use Skype at no extra charge. Leave Telia and come back however, and you may be blocked from Skype unless you want to pony up an additional fee, reportedly around 6 Euros a month.

As operator revenues get squeezed by third-party services — both free and paid — this situation is more likely going to get worse before it gets better. And it also raises questions on net neutrality for mobiles, something that will become increasingly important as the world population shifts online activities from fixed lines to mobile. Interestingly, Telia was the first carrier to roll out an LTE network back in 2009; could this be a sign of things to come for other 4G networks around the world? Let’s hope not.

  1. Telia is not the first to block Skype but definitely not the last, I am sure we are going to see many carriers that will follow Telia, if you look at the increase of mobile VoIP usage in the world you can understand the panic of the carriers, please look Allot MobileTrends Report: http://www.allot.com/index.aspx?id=3797&itemID=83869 ,you can learn that in the last few year VoIP users on mobile is more then doubling each year, don’t get confuse from the report that VoIP is only 5% of the data and 42% is YouTube videos, streaming video and other data can be shrink and/or play with packet priority but VoIP is different story, you cannot. So carriers need to invest money in Antenna tower, but it is too expensive and it takes a lot of time to built (so who is eating up data capacity –its VoIP, http://gigaom.com/broadband/whos-eating-up-atts-data-capacity-its-not-new-customers/).
    The carrier need to do what Verizon (if i am not wrong) did, they route the Skype calls as normal voice call and not as data, like UK carrier 3 did before few years ago, the other choices is to block the users or ask for extra money so most of the free users will not want to pay and the carrier reduce the network usage, one other solution that Skype just add in this web shop called Navoto GSM Gateway which route the calls through the voice channel and not on the data, carrier should locate the heavy VoIP users and offer them what verzion/3 did…

    Share
  2. @David,

    This is wrong:

    “don’t get confuse … streaming video and other data can be shrink and/or play with packet priority but VoIP is different story, you cannot.”

    Youtube viedos are highly compressed currently, as is voice data. Do not expect VOIP to take more space in the future: expect it to take even less. To suggest otherwise is to treat the readers of this blog as idiots.

    Share
    1. @larryking

      I don’t treat the readers of this blog as idiots as you suggested, On the contrary, I just want to put my perspective and I accept your opinion that I am wrong.

      I write: “ streaming video and other data can be shrink and/or play with packet priority but VoIP is different story, you cannot.”

      With streaming video you can play with packet priority (but I think you can do much more) and with other Data you can shrink it.
      I will give example: Please look company name onavo (onavo.com), they can shrinking your data, they say they can “Save up to 80% on your data usage” so carrier can or doing the same, but VoIP cannot be shrink at any time!

      As I said, the number of VoIP users is increasing every year (114% increase) I didn’t say that the amount of data per call is increasing! Just to be clear

      Share
  3. If you think blocking Skype is wrong, you can sign the protest posted at http://upprop.nu/IDHH

    It’s in swedish, but here is my quick translation:
    “Starting this summer, Telia will begin to charge their (new) mobile customers in Sweden, if they want to be able to use Skype, Viber and other voice services using data traffic in the mobile network. For those who do not pay, Skype is blocked.

    This is wrong! Businesses should not be allowed to block access to certain Internet services or apps, as long as they are legal. A company’s outdated business model should not be allowed to hinder the technical development.

    With your signature, you indicate that Telia have to re-think their decision. Stop Telia’s blocking of Skype!”

    Share
    1. Mikael Nilsson Wednesday, June 27, 2012

      It’s easy to stop: don’t sign a contract with Telia.

      Share
  4. If you think blocking Skype is wrong, you can sign the protest posted
    at http://upprop.nu/IDHH

    It’s in swedish, but here is my quick translation:
    “Starting this summer, Telia will begin to charge their (new) mobile
    customers in Sweden, if they want to be able to use Skype, Viber and
    other voice services using data traffic in the mobile network. For
    those who do not pay, Skype is blocked.

    This is wrong! Businesses should not be allowed to block access to
    certain Internet services or apps, as long as they are legal. A
    company’s outdated business model should not be allowed to hinder the
    technical development.

    With your signature, you indicate that Telia have to re-think their
    decision. Stop Telia’s blocking of Skype!”

    Share
  5. I agree with usage based pricing; however, I find it hard to believe that alongside that, app based pricing is being pushed down our throats. If a carrier uses QoS as a reason to justify app based pricing on top of Usage based pricing, then it is a shame. Sprint is in dire shape, and perhaps that is why it is open to accepting that its network is nothing more than a dumb pipe that subs can use to consume data anyway they chose. Note: Republic Wireless. Instead of acting like a Dinosaur, it is time for Telecom Dinosaurs to wake up and move into the correct decade.

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post