The Chinese government has moved to reassure that it will not be banning Skype, but said it will continue a crackdown on what it considers to be illegal VoIP services.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's (MIIT) planned action, widely reported last week, will not target companies such as Skype and its Chinese joint venture partner Tom Online, China Daily reported.
The MIIT stated at a recent industry conference that its clampdown will apply only to operators of illegal VoIP services.
While the Ministry would not clarify what constitutes an illegal service, it says the crackdown is intended mainly to target online crimes and fraud perpetrated via VoIP.
TeleGeography suggests the government may be planning to target only phone-to-phone VoIP services – which only the main carriers have permission to offer – but leave PC-to-PC or PC-to-phone services untouched.
In neighboring Nepal, lawmakers have turned their attentions to illegal VoIP services, which officials allege are costing operators 160 million rupees (€2.7 million) per month in missed revenue.
At a hearing of the nation's parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, the deputy inspector general of Nepal Police claimed that illegal VoIP channels account for two million minutes worth of calls per month, the Himalayan Times reported.
Not only is this causing a huge loss in revenue to operators and, by extension, the government, but it represents a serious security threat, he said.
But he claimed that police action had brought the number of illegal VoIP providers down to just four or five from 165 in prior years.
Currently only incumbent Nepal Telecom, United Telecom, Spice Nepal and ATS Telecom are authorized to operate VoIP in Nepal.
The Committee asked regulator Nepal Telecom Authority to reappear this week with details of all revenue paid by licensed telecom operators to the government.