T-Mobile Germany Says Nein to Skype for iPhone
Article by George Norman
On 06 Apr 2009
Skype for iPhone, the app that was not too long ago released for the Apple developed smartphone has caused some stir recently: first there was the news that open-internet advocacy group Free Press urged the FCC to remove the WiFi only connectivity limitation and grant Skype for iPhone 3G connectivity as well for making video calls (details here); now there are reports stating that T-Mobile Germany is restricting Skype for iPhone.

In the US, you can make use of Skype’s video calling feature as long as you find a WiFi hotspot. This is because T-Mobile US will not let you perform this feat over its 3G network; not that we would advise you do try this out, but reports have it that iPhone Os 3.0 Beta lets you make Skype video calls over the 3G network (details here). The situation looks pretty good for US iPhone and Skype users, but the same cannot be said about the people in Germany as T-Mobile Germany has announced it plans to block the app altogether.

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According to officials from the company, the decision on T-Mobile’s Germany part is backed by “technical reasons” – allowing VoIP calls would put too much strain on the network (including WiFI), which would in turn cause the app to not function properly and thus lead to customer dissatisfaction. T-Mobile Germany added that it plans to block the download of Skype for iPhone; users that do get their hands on the app and find a way of using it on the carrier’s network will see their contract annulled.

Skype's General Counsel, Robert Miller comments: “What amazes me is that Skype is the number one download on the App Store in Germany, and yet the country’s dominant telecom operator Deutsche Telekom has already made it known that it would block the use of Skype on iPhone (and on Blackberry), both for its mobile network customers, and at its WiFi hotspots. I find it quite telling that Deutsche Telekom would be so bold as to announce this arbitrary blocking of Skype. They pretend that their action has to do with technical concerns: this is baseless. Skype works perfectly well on iPhone, as hundreds of thousands of people globally can already readily attest.”

To make matters worse, no other carrier in Germany allows VoIP calls, so switching in order to use Skype for iPhone is not an option - nor do they allow it in neighboring France, the country that has just passed the “three strikes your out” legislation for alleged copyright infringers (details here).



Tags: Apple, iPhone, Skype, Skype for iPhone, T-Mobile, Germany
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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