Bowing to the inevitable, O2 Germany has become the first major cellular operator in the country allowing mobile VoIP applications on handsets without charging a premium.
Until now, all four of Germany's major mobile providers have attempted to block VoIP applications, such as Skype, claiming the additional IP traffic would overload their 3G networks and cause disruptions to other users.
Other operators called for a ban on certain Nokia handsets that would come with the Skype application preloaded.
Earlier this year, T-Mobile Germany imposed a ban on mobile VoIP apps using its 3G or Wi-Fi networks. However, in June it lifted the VoIP block but instead introduced a €9.95 monthly surcharge for anyone wanting to use VoIP services.
O2 Germany has now decided to allow VoIP usage with its monthly data traffic tariffs, with the minimum being €10 per month for 200MB of data transfer. This, according to engineers, is sufficient for users to make two hours of Skype calls per month.
O2 Germany's Lutz Schüler said that the company now had one of the fastest and most modern mobile data networks in Europe, and “our customers should be able to experience that without restrictions. By opening our mobile high-speed network for VoIP services, we are setting new benchmarks for the mobile internet.”