T-Mobile lifts Skype ban, but imposes surcharge

Having attracted widespread criticism T-Mobile Germany has ended its ban on the use of Skype and other mobile VoIP services over its mobile network. However, the company has imposed a surcharge of €9.95 a month on its subscribers wanting to use these VoIP applications.

The company has justified this new tariff due to the significant investment required to boost network capacity together with the increase in the number of available IP addressees needed to offer its customers the option to use VoIP within its mobile network in Germany. However, a T-Mobile spokesman declined to elaborate further on the details of this necessary investment.

In April, a Skype application was made available in Apple's app store and was downloaded more than 600,000 times by iPhone users globally within the first 24 hours following its launch, according to Skype. T-Mobile sold more than 330,000 iPhones in Germany as of the end of 2008, and a large number of Google G1 and smartphones running Windows Mobile--all of which can support the Skype application.

Separately, 3UK said that, following a high-profile TV advertising campaign offering free Skype-to-Skype calling for new and existing 3 prepay customers, it had recorded a huge increase in the usage of the service. 3UK's sales and marketing director, Marc Allera, said, "It's very early days, but we are very pleased so far. All new campaigns take time to get going, but we have seen some really pleasing results come through in terms of sales and usage."

For more on this story:
WSJ and Mobile News

Related stories:
German operators split over mobile VoIP strategy
Skype exec calls for win-win partnership with cellcos
Skype/iPhone combo causes operator angst
Mobile Skype calls for free - strange but true

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