Mobile operators in Sweden could be planning to install technology that will stop their subscribers from making free VoIP calls.
A spokesman for Telia told Sveriges Radio that equipment was available to block mobile calls being made using services like Skype and Viper. The company intimated that some pricing plans would not include the ability to make calls using VoIP, according to a report carried by The Local.
Telia spokesperson Charlotte Züger told Sveriges Radio: "I believe, quite simply, that we need to be able to get paid for our various services no matter what, as different service plans include different things."
However, any move to implement the blocking of mobile VoIP calls could lead to involvement by the European Commission, given its stance on pushing forward with net neutrality regulations. The Commission is considering a ban on telecom operators from excluding VoIP calls across their networks.
A recent study conducted by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), which oversees telecom regulations across the European Union, found that mobile operators regularly block VoIP calls and prevent services such as Skype from functioning on their networks. "
BEREC's preliminary findings on traffic management practices in Europe show that blocking of VoIP traffic is common," the group said in a statement carried by EurActiv. BEREC's survey was conducted over several months and represents information gathered from 250 fixed-line and 150 mobile operators across Europe.
In response, the operators claimed that filtering or blocking certain network applications is needed to allow traffic management, which ultimately benefits all users and prevents network congestion. The European Commission is expected to make a definitive ruling on net neutrality this summer.
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Article updated March 29 to indicate that Swedish operators could be planning to block mobile VoIP calls.