Swedish operator TeliaSonera has reversed its stance on charging for third-party VoIP network traffic from apps such as Skype and Google Talk. In Spain, the company charges 6 Euros ($7.77 US) for 100 MB of VoIP traffic, allowing for between five and ten hours of calls over data. The app-specific plan will not be expanded as originally planned, however, as TeliaSonera is simply raising its standard rates to account for lost voice traffic revenues.
According to the IP Carrier blog, TeliaSonera’s Chief Executive Lars Nyberg is concerned about the risk VoIP calls brings to traditional telecom revenues, saying “If all our customers suddenly decided to switch over to VoIP, and we charged them only for the data traffic usage, we would lose about 70 percent of our revenue.”
The initial move to charge extra for VoIP was met with understandable consumer disappointment, with some suggesting that Skype would effectively be blocked in Sweden on mobiles for those not paying the extra fee. This situation in general is likely to only worsen as carriers lose revenues to OTT, or over the top, third-party services that replicate or expand upon what network operators offer. Might you one day pay for data based on the app that uses it? Quite possibly, but for now, at least one operator has backed down a little.