Companies that provide voice-over-IP services, like Microsoft and Google, are calling on European Commission officials and telecoms regulators to penalise landline operators that relegate voice traffic.
European ministers urged the Commission to regulate telecoms operators who prioritise bandwidth, giving rise to 'net neutrality' rules, to prevent favouritism to certain kinds of bandwidth.
A report by VON Europe, whose members include both the new owners of Skype, Microsoft, as well as search giant Google, said that Vodafone restricts access to web-based calls on certain tariffs. Others, including Dutch telecoms network KPN and France Telecom's Orange, do not allow voice-over-IP traffic at all.
Other examples include French network SFR, which sells "unlimited" web access tariffs for iPad users, but bans peer-to-peer networking and voice-over-IP calling.
In the UK, T-Mobile and Vodafone do not allow voice-over-IP traffic on their mobile Internet packages.
The European regulator BEREC, and the European Commission were urged by ministers to ensure that mobile network companies do not infringe on net neutrality, and that all traffic is treated equally.
While mobile networks would ideally want its end-users to contact others using its own infrastructure, data-based technology is seen by mobile operators as undercutting their service.
Many UK and European networks still offer 'unlimited' mobile Internet access, for which voice-over-IP technology relies on, provided that their respective fair-use policies are not violated. Combined with free voice-over-IP services like Skype, it is entirely possible to not rack up any charges or costs at all when calling other voice-over-IP enabled devices.
Microsoft, who recently acquired Skype for $8.5 billion, said that it is either blocked or 'overpriced' by mobile operators that see its voice-over-IP consumer technology as a threat to its business.
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