VoIP providers, through the Voice on the Net (VON Coalition), have urged European leaders to allow consumers to access the content and services of their choice on any mobile network, following the announcement that T-Mobile is to block Skype on iPhones in Germany.
The VON Coalition Europe wants European decision-makers to adopt these principles in their review of the electronic communications package.
The VON Coalition Europe was launched in December 2007 by internet technology companies iBasis, Intel, Google, Microsoft, Rebtel, Skype and Voxbone. It focuses on educating and informing EU policymakers to promote responsible government policies that enable innovation. The group believes T-Mobile’s move is “highly detrimental” for consumer welfare in Europe.
VON Coalition Europe director Caroline De Cock said: “Consumers in Europe and across the world have been enjoying the benefits of ‘Voice on the Net’ applications as an expected capability of their data service. This can only continue if these applications are not blocked or degraded by the network operators, and if the choice of application, service or content they wish to access is left to users instead of network providers.
“The European institutions have a unique opportunity to solve this problem in a timely manner by enshrining a set of principles in the electronic communications framework to prohibit such behaviour.
“VON strongly believes that, with the right public policies, Internet-enabled voice communications, such as VoIP, can increase competition, provide a platform for innovation, drive broadband deployment, enable economic growth and drive prices down.”
T-Mobile Germany announced this week has announced that it would block Skype on iPhones in Germany for “efficient management” of its network.
Skype has argued that it works well on the iPhone, does not slow down the network and is the number one download from the Apple App Store in Germnay.
A T-Mobile Germany spokesman told a German website that it is clearly stated in customer contracts that VoIP services cannot be used because the traffic would hinder network performance and customers would complain to T-Mobile if the Skype program didn’t work. He said customers who hacked their iPhones so they could use Skype will have their contracts cancelled.