FCC asked to investigate iPhone's restriction on Skype calls

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 60
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 60
    floccusfloccus Posts: 138member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 60
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 60
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 60
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 60
    gtl215gtl215 Posts: 242member
    i'd love to hear Deutsche Telekom's argument for blocking VoIP over WiFi...ha!
  • Reply 7 of 60
    echosonicechosonic Posts: 452member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 60
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 60
    too disgusted at the stupidity on display to actually post anything that contributes to the OP.



    no wonder the world laughs at the US
  • Reply 10 of 60
    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
  • Reply 11 of 60
    jazzgurujazzguru Posts: 6,435member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 60
    What about Slingbox? and Internet Tethering?



    These shouldn't be a restriction from AT&T as well!
  • Reply 13 of 60
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    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!
  • Reply 14 of 60
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    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?
  • Reply 15 of 60
    mark2005mark2005 Posts: 1,158member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 60
    pxtpxt Posts: 683member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 60
    m2002brianm2002brian Posts: 258member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 60
    m2002brianm2002brian Posts: 258member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 60
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,613member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 60
    pxtpxt Posts: 683member
    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.
Sign In or Register to comment.