By Erin Hayes
The European Union is considering “binding guidelines” that could force wireless operators to allow mobile VoIP services such as WUG’s service and Skype run over their data networks.
According to German newspaper Handelsblatt the company explicitly responsible for bringing the wrath of the EU is Germany’s Deutsche Telekom. The T-Mobile subsidiary balked at allowing their customers’ access to the more affordable (i.e. free with wireless access) communication tool and categorically denied the use of any form of VoIP software on its network – even the perfectly legal Skype app for the iPhone.
Deutsche Telekom apparently pulled a Time Warner and cited “risk of excessive bandwidth consumption” for their restriction, but the EU isn’t buying it.
(Check out our blog on Time Warner’s decision to effectively limit online video consumption)
However, as you are so aware, blocking a competitor’s service by monopolizing the market makes you very vulnerable to antitrust charges – and this is where Deutsche Telekom presently stands according to Handelsblatt.
The EU’s telecoms commissioner, Viviane Reding, has called for the EU to undo arbitrary obstacles to “innovative services” on cellphones. A draft of the VoIP measure is reportedly completed, but still unfinished due to a lack of precise wording.
Here’s to hoping that our government and the governments in the E.U. continue to challenge companies like Time Warner and T-Mobile’s German subsidiary to embrace and change with today’s innovative technologies instead of simply trying to stand in the way in the name of protecting outdated business models.