or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › FCC asked to investigate iPhone's restriction on Skype calls
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

FCC asked to investigate iPhone's restriction on Skype calls

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
An Internet advocacy group has asked the Federal Communications Commission to investigate whether Apple and its US wireless partner AT&T are violating federal guidelines by restricting consumers from using Skype's new iPhone application to make low-cost internet calls over AT&T's network.

The request was made Friday by Free Press, a group with a long history of lobbying against cable and wireless companies seeking to place restrictions on how consumers use their services, according the Wall Street Journal.

Released on Tuesday, the Skype application (Free, App Store) quickly shot to the top of the download charts on Apple's App Store and has since been installed on more than a million of the iPhone maker's handheld devices. It lets users communicate with other mobile or PC-based Skype users free of charge or place international calls to cell phones and traditional landlines for a nominal fee of about 2.1 cents per minutes.

As part of a concession made to AT&T, Apple's terms for software approval on the App Store prohibits VoIP-based applications like Skype from utilizing networks operated by wireless carriers. AT&T, like the vast majority of its peers, worry that offering that capability would eat into their high-margin service revenues.

That means Skype's is only useful when a user's iPhone is in range of a WiFi hotspot, limiting the potential for the software to help consumers cut back on their pricey monthly service plans with wireless providers. It was reported earlier this week that Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile unit, Apple's wireless partner in Germany, was considering a restriction that would ban users from operating Skype even on its own WiFi network.

"Free Press and other consumer advocates want the FCC to affirm that so-called net neutrality protections also cover wireless networks," the Journal's report explains. "That would prevent AT&T or other operators from blocking services like Skype on their mobile networks."

Possibly working in the group's favor is the Democratic administration that's recently taken charge of the FCC, the report adds. President Barack Obama is a stalwart supporter of net neutrality, as is his choice for FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski.
post #2 of 61
Free Press' request for the FCC to investigate AT&T's obviously anti-competitive behavior would have been answered with a Foghorn Leghorn, "I say, I say, go away, boy! Don't bother me."

Now that the grown-ups are in charge and the Rule of Law is returning, this might get a serious look.
post #3 of 61
As the write states, Apple was forced by ATT (and presumably other carriers have said so as well) to restrict VOIP from their data networks. The bigger issue is ATT and other mobile carriers explicitely changing their terms of service to dissallow VOIP or charge significantly more for the priviledge to have access.

But really, as great as Skype is generally, how horrible would it be if you could use it over the mobile data network. ATT's network is already strained w/o adding more data usage to the mix.
post #4 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post

Free Press' request for the FCC to investigate AT&T's obviously anti-competitive behavior would have been answered with a Foghorn Leghorn, "I say, I say, go away, boy! Don't bother me."

Now that the grown-ups are in charge and the Rule of Law is returning, this might get a serious look.

Rule of law returning... don't kid yourself and take off the blinders.
post #5 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by crees! View Post

Rule of law returning... don't kid yourself and take off the blinders.

I think he meant rule of Not Paying Your Taxes returning.
post #6 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by crees! View Post

Rule of law returning... don't kid yourself and take off the blinders.

Well in terms of the SEC he's absolutely right. It's not really a stretch to think that the FEC might have a similar turn.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
Reply
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
Reply
post #7 of 61
i'd love to hear Deutsche Telekom's argument for blocking VoIP over WiFi...ha!
post #8 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post

Free Press' request for the FCC to investigate AT&T's obviously anti-competitive behavior would have been answered with a Foghorn Leghorn, "I say, I say, go away, boy! Don't bother me."

Now that the grown-ups are in charge and the Rule of Law is returning, this might get a serious look.

LOL, Dave, you mean the Rule of Bribe?

Net Neutrality will fly until the Carriers realize they can take the FreddieMac approach and buy Obama the way Frank Raines did.

Instead of putting your intellectual eggs into the "Gubbermint Save ME!" basket, why don't you try writing angry letters and emails yourself, maybe along with the rest of us?

I've found that when we the people rise up en masse, we usually get a far better result than by allowing ANY government turd to have influence over our Freedom, our Internet, and our Marketplaces.
post #9 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by floccus View Post

As the write states, Apple was forced by ATT (and presumably other carriers have said so as well) to restrict VOIP from their data networks. The bigger issue is ATT and other mobile carriers explicitely changing their terms of service to dissallow VOIP or charge significantly more for the priviledge to have access.

But really, as great as Skype is generally, how horrible would it be if you could use it over the mobile data network. ATT's network is already strained w/o adding more data usage to the mix.

If AT&T's network is that piss poor, they should be giving service away for free. You (plural) can not continue to apologize for crappy service that you are paying for.
post #10 of 61
too disgusted at the stupidity on display to actually post anything that contributes to the OP.

no wonder the world laughs at the US
I don't see how an anti M$ stance can be seen as a bad thing on an Apple forum I really can't!

nagromme - According to Amazon: "SpongBob Typing Tutor" is outselling Windows
Reply
I don't see how an anti M$ stance can be seen as a bad thing on an Apple forum I really can't!

nagromme - According to Amazon: "SpongBob Typing Tutor" is outselling Windows
Reply
post #11 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter Slocombe View Post

too disgusted at the stupidity on display to actually post anything that contributes to the OP.

no wonder the world laughs at the US

Add this to the mix: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-...g=2547-1_3-0-5
post #12 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter Slocombe View Post

too disgusted at the stupidity on display to actually post anything that contributes to the OP.

no wonder the world laughs at the US

Everyone, try reading this post out loud while imitating Sid the Sloth from the movie Ice Age. Literally made me laugh out loud.

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

Reply

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

Reply
post #13 of 61
What about Slingbox? and Internet Tethering?

These shouldn't be a restriction from AT&T as well!
post #14 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzguru View Post

Everyone, try reading this post out loud while imitating Sid the Sloth from the movie Ice Age. Literally made me laugh out loud.

OMG- that's hysterical. Or Barney Frank- Gotta luv Barney!
post #15 of 61
Quote:
federal guidelines by restricting consumers from using Skype's new iPhone application to make low-cost internet calls over AT&T's network.

Doesn't the government want any business to make money?
post #16 of 61
The end result of government interference is that the carriers will raise the price of cellular service for everyone, regardless of whether you actually use Skype, tethering, Slingbox, etc.
"you will know the truth, and the truth will
set you free."
Reply
"you will know the truth, and the truth will
set you free."
Reply
post #17 of 61
I'm all in favour of pay-per-packet rather than the nasty rates we pay for things like SMS or voice, but why did these guys wait for Apple? Carriers have been shafting customers for years.

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

Reply

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

Reply
post #18 of 61
Was thinking a cellular to wifi conversion router would be pretty cool. Just stick your usb or card in the router and it acts like a wifi router. Dont get too technical with me. It's all just a 5 year away idea in my head.
[center] "Hey look, it's in the center. I am SO cool!"[/center]
Reply
[center] "Hey look, it's in the center. I am SO cool!"[/center]
Reply
post #19 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by PXT View Post

I'm all in favour of pay-per-packet rather than the nasty rates we pay for things like SMS or voice, but why did these guys wait for Apple? Carriers have been shafting customers for years.

Apple forces inovation within the indusrty they are involved. MAYBE Apple wants you to use a wireless network for as much as you want, just like you want.
[center] "Hey look, it's in the center. I am SO cool!"[/center]
Reply
[center] "Hey look, it's in the center. I am SO cool!"[/center]
Reply
post #20 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter Slocombe View Post

too disgusted at the stupidity on display to actually post anything that contributes to the OP.

no wonder the world laughs at the US

I hear ya. Kids today are bunch of spoiled brats who got totally indulged by mom and dad, now they think they are entitled to get everything they want and for free.

Get Skype free on AT&T 3G? Yeah. Should the feds force Apple to sell Sony PCs in the Apple Store then and, on top of that, require that Apple can't charge Sony a cent? Or how about make Toyota dealers sell GM cars and prohibit the Toyota dealer from getting a cut?

That's how stupid this Skype-on-AT&T3G-for-free idea is.
post #21 of 61
I bought a BMW. It was beautiful. But when I woke up the next morning, someone had removed the wheels and left the car on bricks. On the windscreen was a card telling me to call the showroom where I had bought the car. I called them and they told me that they had my wheels. Weird. I got my wheels back and had a big argument with them and couldn't make any sense out of what had happened. A week later, the same thing happened. I got my wheels back and had another irrational fight with the guys at the showroom. Then I got a brochure through the mail offering the all new wheels-on subscription. Apparently, for $99 a month, you can pay them to leave the wheels on the car that you bought.

I hate the carriers.

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

Reply

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

Reply
post #22 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

I hear ya. Kids today are bunch of spoiled brats who got totally indulged by mom and dad, now they think they are entitled to get everything they want and for free.

Get Skype free on AT&T 3G? Yeah. Should the feds force Apple to sell Sony PCs in the Apple Store then and, on top of that, require that Apple can't charge Sony a cent? Or how about make Toyota dealers sell GM cars not allow the Toyota dealer to get a cut?

That's how stupid this Skype-on-AT&T3G-for-free idea is.

Toyota does make GMs, in Toyota Plants. Really though the argument is not about what they're saying you can and can not do. It's about changing terms of service in a "semi-unethical" way
[center] "Hey look, it's in the center. I am SO cool!"[/center]
Reply
[center] "Hey look, it's in the center. I am SO cool!"[/center]
Reply
post #23 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

I hear ya. Kids today are bunch of spoiled brats who got totally indulged by mom and dad, now they think they are entitled to get everything they want and for free.

Why do I think I'm listening to Paul Lynde when I read this?
post #24 of 61
So what if broadband providers (like Comcast) decide to block Skype? Or they decide to charge customers more money to use apps like Skype? Apple's iPhone eco system makes it easy to assert this level of control. Would you feel the same if it spread to all service providers?
post #25 of 61
It's a private contract entered into when customers make their purchase.

I thought the US was about free enterprise and a lack of government interference.

SKYPE IS NOT AN ESSENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE

They are also on a level playing field with other VOIP applications, if there was a restriction forcing people to use an AT&T provided App they might have a case.

Don't like it?

Use your freedom to go elsewhere.
Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
Reply
Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
Reply
post #26 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Use your freedom to go elsewhere.

I prefer to stay right where I'm at and protest against a doctrine whose central tenet is based upon the misguided concept of separate but equal.
post #27 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2005 View Post

The end result of government interference is that the carriers will raise the price of cellular service for everyone, regardless of whether you actually use Skype, tethering, Slingbox, etc.

I knew if I read long enough, I would find one useful post on this thread. Thanks.
post #28 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Doesn't the government want any business to make money?

I think I recently heard that at their current text message rates they are making about $1000 US per meg sent!!! These guys are making a killing at the expense of the consumer and even companies like Sprint who have lost 3 million subscribers found $600,000 for their CFO to take personal trips (apparently he makes up for it by repurposing hotel pens and spreading them around the office to help save money!!!) Point is - fair profit is one thing, taking advantage of us is quiet another. (see the story here http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/20.../?ref=business)
post #29 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

I hear ya. Kids today are bunch of spoiled brats who got totally indulged by mom and dad, now they think they are entitled to get everything they want and for free.

Get Skype free on AT&T 3G? Yeah. Should the feds force Apple to sell Sony PCs in the Apple Store then and, on top of that, require that Apple can't charge Sony a cent? Or how about make Toyota dealers sell GM cars and prohibit the Toyota dealer from getting a cut?

That's how stupid this Skype-on-AT&T3G-for-free idea is.

It's not about getting anything for free. Consumers PAY to transmit IP data over AT&T's network, and AT&T is discriminating against certain types of devices and data. That is illegal with or without network neutrality. If restricting the use of networks to only approved devices for approved purposes were legal, we'd still be renting lame ass bulky black phones from the telephone companies, there would be no answering machines, no fax machines, and no dial-up internet that kicked off the internet revolution as we know it. If AT&T needs to charge more for it's data plans and add caps, fine; that's legal. What they are doing right now isn't and it needs to stop.
post #30 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by m2002brian View Post

Was thinking a cellular to wifi conversion router would be pretty cool. Just stick your usb or card in the router and it acts like a wifi router. Dont get too technical with me. It's all just a 5 year away idea in my head.

Actually, it's a five year-old idea at best. Such routers are manufactured by several companies already.

Personally, I'm glad AT&T is restricting Skype to wifi. Monthly charges are their incentive to subsidize the iPhone so heavily, and if people can get their voice elsewhere on the same device, data rates will have to increase or subsidies will have to decrease. From an end-user and stockholder standpoint, I want the iPhone to have a broad market. If the price goes up, the user base shrinks over time, and Apple and third-party devs will make less money, decreasing their incentive to make it a great platform. I'd support a significant monthly service charge for VOIP over-the-air, but I don't think it's worth ruining anyone's margins over. In the end, it would only hurt the majority of users who didn't really need VOIP anyway.
post #31 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by heaven or las vegas View Post

I prefer to stay right where I'm at and protest against a doctrine whose central tenet is based upon the misguided concept of separate but equal.

Are you still talking about a service contract like everyone else, or have you really increased the scope to include the philosophical underpinnings of segregation?

I think it's OK to segregate customers from non-customers. Now, if you're being treated in a different manner than other customers I'd say you have a valid point, but I don't see that happening.
post #32 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHKOsta View Post


In the end, it would only hurt the majority of users who didn't really need VOIP anyway.

Yes, just like VOIP was going to kill traditional phones at home with people making all their calls on their computers. It didn't but interestingly enough, cell phones might. Stop the alarmist hype. And as a shareholder, why don't you get ATT to work to treat its customers fairly rather than take everything they can get? You seem to be living in a pre-AIG world - get over it, those days are not coming back.
post #33 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHKOsta View Post

Actually, it's a five year-old idea at best. Such routers are manufactured by several companies already.

Personally, I'm glad AT&T is restricting Skype to wifi. Monthly charges are their incentive to subsidize the iPhone so heavily, and if people can get their voice elsewhere on the same device, data rates will have to increase or subsidies will have to decrease. From an end-user and stockholder standpoint, I want the iPhone to have a broad market. If the price goes up, the user base shrinks over time, and Apple and third-party devs will make less money, decreasing their incentive to make it a great platform. I'd support a significant monthly service charge for VOIP over-the-air, but I don't think it's worth ruining anyone's margins over. In the end, it would only hurt the majority of users who didn't really need VOIP anyway.

So why does anyone care about tethering and it's fees if they can pay a one time fee to change 3g to wifi. Thus the iPhone would see wifi allowing such transmission (because it's the software on the phone that detects what network your on (i believe))

Now do they make these in mobile, car installation units. Allowing for all passengers to access wifi while enjoying the ride? Or imagine in in dash comp (mini) with a multi-touch interface hooked up to a 3g2wifi router allowing for maps, weather, road conditions, itunes (put a click wheel on the steering thing with a heads up display on window for artist song album) all sync able with your home comp via wifi. and the best part. When they upgrade standards you just replace your cellular card in the trunk mounted router.
[center] "Hey look, it's in the center. I am SO cool!"[/center]
Reply
[center] "Hey look, it's in the center. I am SO cool!"[/center]
Reply
post #34 of 61
I'm pretty sure the article states that its restricted as part of Apple's terms and conditions for acceptance into the app store.
post #35 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by heaven or las vegas View Post

I prefer to stay right where I'm at and protest against a doctrine whose central tenet is based upon the misguided concept of separate but equal.

What part of YOU signed a contract agreeing to certain terms and conditions in order to get something YOU wanted do you have trouble understanding?

If you want Skype over 3G get something that does it, like WinMo and Symbian devices that have had it for ages.

Have you read the disclaimers re: Skype and emergency calls?

As I said before it is not an essential service.
Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
Reply
Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
Reply
post #36 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by bulk001 View Post

Yes, just like VOIP was going to kill traditional phones at home with people making all their calls on their computers. It didn't but interestingly enough, cell phones might. Stop the alarmist hype. And as a shareholder, why don't you get ATT to work to treat its customers fairly rather than take everything they can get? You seem to be living in a pre-AIG world - get over it, those days are not coming back.

This is very much not the same situation as the one you're comparing it to. Traditional phones didn't require a carrier subsidy to avoid an upfront hardware cost of $600 to the consumer. That's a lot of cheddar, yo! And it has to come from somewhere. If monthly charges were partially circumvented by VOIP, AT&T would make less money from iPhone customers and would have less incentive to subsidize hardware upfront. Only a very small percentage of people are willing to fork out more than $200-300 upfront for a cell phone, no matter how much ass it kicks. Hopefully nobody has to explain this to you in even plainer terms.

I don't own nearly enough AAPL to have pull with Apple, let alone AT&T by proxy. I'm a regular guy - like you, but I don't talk about things I clearly don't understand.

I'm absolutely clueless as to how you're tying AIG into this. And what days, exactly, are not coming back? How drunk are you right now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by m2002brian View Post

So why does anyone care about tethering and it's fees if they can pay a one time fee to change 3g to wifi. Thus the iPhone would see wifi allowing such transmission (because it's the software on the phone that detects what network your on (i believe))

Now do they make these in mobile, car installation units. Allowing for all passengers to access wifi while enjoying the ride? Or imagine in in dash comp (mini) with a multi-touch interface hooked up to a 3g2wifi router allowing for maps, weather, road conditions, itunes (put a click wheel on the steering thing with a heads up display on window for artist song album) all sync able with your home comp via wifi. and the best part. When they upgrade standards you just replace your cellular card in the trunk mounted router.

First, he's talking about using an aircard, which is sold for the sole purpose of tethering, and with a service plan for data access on a computer. The guy I know that has an aircard router is actually a cab driver. He has the router installed in the cab, and his customers use his network.
post #37 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHKOsta View Post

First, he's talking about using an aircard, which is sold for the sole purpose of tethering, and with a service plan for data access on a computer. The guy I know that has an aircard router is actually a cab driver. He has the router installed in the cab, and his customers use his network.

If it acts as a tether, then the iPhone should see wifi (in theory) and allow VIOP. Right?
So for $40 a month I can have unlimited data and email from t-mobile. Run it through a router convert to wifi and use VOIP. Right?
Although it might make it hard to call from, say, the park.
[center] "Hey look, it's in the center. I am SO cool!"[/center]
Reply
[center] "Hey look, it's in the center. I am SO cool!"[/center]
Reply
post #38 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHKOsta View Post

This is very much not the same situation as the one you're comparing it to. Traditional phones didn't require a carrier subsidy to avoid an upfront hardware cost of $600 to the consumer. That's a lot of cheddar, yo! And it has to come from somewhere. If monthly charges were partially circumvented by VOIP, AT&T would make less money from iPhone customers and would have less incentive to subsidize hardware upfront. Only a very small percentage of people are willing to fork out more than $200-300 upfront for a cell phone, no matter how much ass it kicks. Hopefully nobody has to explain this to you in even plainer terms.

I don't own nearly enough AAPL to have pull with Apple, let alone AT&T by proxy. I'm a regular guy - like you, but I don't talk about things I clearly don't understand.

I'm absolutely clueless as to how you're tying AIG into this. And what days, exactly, are not coming back? How drunk are you right now?

I paid full price for my unsubsidized v1 iPhone so it would be okay to use Skype on that or one of the unsubidize iPhones ATT is selling right now. 2. Being a shareholder gives you certain rights. Read them. 3. As a consumer I am not going to let a company get away with trying to screw me over. That is how AIG came into this - their actions have changed the business world forever. 4. To paraphrase Churchill, "I may be drunk but you are ugly. And I will be sober in the morning." Just kidding.
post #39 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by m2002brian View Post

If it acts as a tether, then the iPhone should see wifi (in theory) and allow VIOP. Right?
So for $40 a month I can have unlimited data and email from t-mobile. Run it through a router convert to wifi and use VOIP. Right?
Although it might make it hard to call from, say, the park.

Simple. Go to: www.joikuspot.com. Download the free version. Install it on your Symbian phone. Did I say Symbian? Connect your iPhone to your Symbian phone via wifi. As always, the Symbian phone will do the heavy lifting and connect to the 3G network. Tell AT&T, and T-Mobile to "eff" off.
post #40 of 61
If AT&T doesn't want to allow that feature on their network, who are we or anyone else to stop them? When you sign up for the service, you agree to their terms do you not?

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

Reply

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPhone
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › FCC asked to investigate iPhone's restriction on Skype calls