China wants to block VoIP calls for 2 years - report

The Chinese government is planning to ban free VoIP services for at least two years, as part of efforts to protect its fixed telephone line business, an AFP report said.

The report quoted Wang Leilei, CEO of Chinese Internet portal group Tom Online, as saying that China would not issue any licenses for computer-to-telephone calls until 2008.

The report said this development would likely be a major setback to Skype, which was reportedly in talks last year with Chinese telecom operators to launch its computer-to-telephone service SkypeOut.

Earlier reports said China Telecom described Skype's services as illegal and that China was experimenting with software in Beijing, Shanghai , Guangzhou and Shenzhen to block them.