We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
78,713 News Articles

Skype seeks bulk to avoid blocks

Wants to expand user base

The larger Skype's user base grows, the less likely it is that telecom operators or regulators will successfully block the VoIP service, said the head of Skype's European operations, during an interview at the VON Europe conference in Stockholm.

An experience in Brazil makes a good example, said James Bilefield, general manager of Skype in Europe. About a year ago, one of the largest telecom operators in Brazil blocked Skype. The reaction from Skype users was so strong that after a week, the operator relented. "The community has the power to change things," he said.

Some operators, particularly the incumbents, may seek to block Skype because Skype's low-cost voice service can steal market share from them and thus eat into their most significant source of revenue.

Incumbent operators speaking at VON Europe didn't hide the fact that the VoIP (voice-over IP) players are a threat.

"Our existing cash flow is being challenged," said Joacim Damgard, vice president for broadband and fixed services at TeliaSonera.

With the introduction of the most recent version of Skype came news that the application does a better job of hiding its traffic on networks, making it harder for service providers or third-party applications to block it. While Bilefield couldn't explain how the application does that, he did say that Skype has a mission to make sure that customers can use the software.

"Our goal is that consumers who want to use it should be able to," Bilefield said. "They shouldn't have anything in their way."

If the issue of blocking Skype gets heated, Skype thinks that regulators will be on its side. "Overall, regulators want to provide choice. Skype does that," he said.

Mobile operators have most recently begun to ban VoIP services. Last week, T-Mobile in the UK said that subscribers to a new data card service are forbidden to use VoIP services. Bilefield said that some operators have chosen to work with Skype because their customers want the service. E-Plus Mobilfunk in Germany and the third-generation network operator 3 are two companies that have made Skype offerings to their customers.

In the near future, some mobile operators may find it harder to challenge Skype. Skype has been working on creating a client that is compatible with Symbian, an OS (operating system) used in smartphones manufactured by Nokia and Sony Ericsson. A Skype client is already available to users of phones running Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS.


IDG UK Sites

Android One vs Android Silver vs Google Nexus: What is the difference?

IDG UK Sites

Apple updates MacBook Pro line-up: Price cuts & spec boosts for 6 MacBook Pro models

IDG UK Sites

Long live the internet fridge: the Internet of Things is coming

IDG UK Sites

How Prometheus' colourist Juan Ignacio Cabrera gave a tense, edgy feel to Chosen