Advocacy group cries foul over iPhone Skype app

Advocacy group The Free Press has asked the FCC to force wireless operators to allow consumer access to Skype via smartphones as well as giving them the ability to connect their tethering applications. The Free Press says wireless operators aren't abiding by the FCC's Internet Policy Statement.

The letter comes after Skype developed a VoIP application for Apple's App Store but it's not enabled on AT&T Mobility's 3G network. A report in USA Today quoted AT&T Mobility, which has the exclusive rights to the Apple iPhone, as saying the company had the right to block the application because it's a competitor's service. Skype's app is only available on WiFi connections.

"The Commission should confirm that the Internet Policy Statement applies to wireless service providers that offer broadband Internet access service, as has been acknowledged in prior proceedings and statements of sitting Commissioners. Furthermore, the Commission should request more information on the extent of the wireless providers' role in and their justifications for these widely-reported behaviors," the letter states.

Deutsche Telekom has said it may block Skype's iPhone application based on a clause in its data tariff agreement, according to the company. DT has banned the use of VoIP and IM apps for 18 months.

In reality, the Skype application over 3G isn't that big of deal in terms of cost savings. AT&T iPhone customers have to pay for a voice and data plan every month regardless of whether they use Skype or not.

For more:
- check out Cnet

Related articles:
CTIA Rumor Mill: Skype for iPhone
Skype/iPhone combo causes operator angst
DT may block Skype on iPhone

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