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Skype Asks FCC to Level the Playing Field

Article Comments  52  

Feb 22, 2007, 11:47 AM   by (staff)

Skype recently petitioned the FCC to force wireless network operators to completely open their networks to all devices and applications. Carriers currently limit which phones and applications run on their networks and specifically prohibit Skype-based calls. Skype claims that by more stringently applying existing laws (1968 Carterfone decision), consumers could purchase a voice or data plan and then use whichever device they choose on whichever network they want. Competition from companies like Skype would lead to more choice and lower prices for consumers.

Ars Technica »



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Feb 26, 2007, 5:11 AM

Consider this

In order for this to work properly each manaufacturer is going to have to make every phone compatible with all applications, and
they're also going to have to make every phone compatible with GSM and CDMA, which is possible considering the current iden/cdma hybrid phones.

Then perhaps you can walk into a wireless store and one side you'll have your phones to choose from, and then on the other side you'll have your plans to choose from each carrier.

Then you'll really see who's the best company because then you won't have people switching carriers just because they don't like the phones being offered. it will really come down to who has the better network, plans, and customer service.
How about we have two aisles on the side of the store with the phones? One for GSM and one for CDMA? Maybe an end cap for iden.

Feb 26, 2007, 2:22 PM

This would only shift consumer costs to data use

If every user switched to data-only plans and installed VoIP on their phones, the carrier would still have to get money, and they would still have to divide costs proportionally among high- and low-quantity voice users.

But it sounds like Skype actually makes a lot of arguments based on legal and technological principles, and it sure would be nice if, when carriers sold us "internet" service on our phones, we did not constantly run into unmentioned limitations on what data they want us to send or receive.

If Skype gets their way, you will be able to do more stuff with the service and device you paid for.

But the whole market is not going to magically get lower pricing in total for voice calls from any of the carriers who are routine...

Feb 22, 2007, 5:55 PM


Even if Skype tried to have this passed, it wouldnt work. As we all know GSM uses sim cards and CDMA does not. You cant take a T-Mobile phone and put it on the Verizon network. (EVEN IF YOU UNLOCK IT) Unless they want to put up a ton of money for Sprint and Verizon to change their networks, its impossible! How stupid! 🤣
No, its not stupid. Clearly, a device would have to be compatible with the network in order to use it. That goes without saying. If your GSM device is unlocked, you have a much easier time of it currently because you can just swap SIMs. However, c...
Another example of a company wanting someone else to provide the pipe and the switch for calls. This way the Skypes and the Vonages have a free ride on the back of others footing the expense of the infrastructure.
Eventually all companies are going to be GSM or WCDMA, both run on SIM cards just like the rest of the world, for now unlocking will only really benefit us on GSM. 😎

Feb 23, 2007, 3:48 PM

I think most of you are missing the point...

... of what Skype is filing over. What they are filing over can be found here...
http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/store/controller? ... »
(Scroll down to the bottom of the page and read the fine print under "Unlimited Data Plan and Features")
and here...
http://www.cingular.com/cell-phone-service/legal/pla ... »
(this one is tough to find, but its under "Prohibited and Permissible Uses, III")
That’s all the fine print I’m wanting to have to sort through for right now but basically what it boils down to is the Skype is specifically prohibited from having its software installed on devices on networks with terms and conditions such as the above and ...
I understand that they are arguing against cellular carriers' prohibited use clauses, but my argument is that those clauses are to protect against another voice competitor (i.e. Skype) from using their network with no compensation. Otherwise, they fa...

Feb 24, 2007, 1:34 PM

Skype is full of crap

Skype doesn't care about being able to use any phone on any network because this can already be done. Not too long ago a law was passed saying that phones were no longer allowed to be locked by the carriers. What does this mean? It means you can use any phone on any service as long as it uses the same technology, meaning cdma or gsm. It's actually farely simple, even for cdma phones. Now in order to use the data services you do need to get the phone flashed over and that is for cdma or gsm phones and only costs about $10-$30 to do. All Skype cares about is making money.
That's actually incorrect. If you'll read the ruling and the articles about it more carefully, you'll find that carriers are still allowed to lock phones all they want. They are not obligated to leave phones unlocked or provide unlock codes when reque...
...is publish their protocols first so 3rd parties can connect via their network as well. It's only fair, no?

Feb 22, 2007, 6:09 PM

Sounds a bit desperate to me

I mean, what Skype's suggesting is basically Utopia for all wireless users.

What carrier is going to allow the use of ANY handset and ANY application?

This is pie in the sky.
While I am in favor of competition, there are two BIG issues with their argument. First, the carterphone ruling is a throwback from when there was only 1 choice for phone service (Bell System) and you could only use their phones. It was a yes or no ...

Feb 24, 2007, 5:35 PM

Great Ideas

All of you have great comments and ideas but ,I dont think its even an argument that with the expansion of voip, software will become available to do voip with moblie technologies...furthermore a software mask could be loaded into anyphone that would allow you (when its running) to operate on another providers network weather cdma or gsm as long as the software can bridge the gap between the network and the phone.
If cell providers dont create this software voip companies could become the new cellular providers...With rates and data services untouchable by the excluded networks...unless they adopt or purchase the technology

Feb 23, 2007, 12:05 PM

Skype really sucks

I have a friend who has it and I just hate it when he calls. (and it has nothing to do with him 🤣 )

Feb 23, 2007, 10:33 AM

misunderstand of request

Right now, carriers prohibit users from using skype from any of their devices, including cellphones and computers. I believe skype wants customer's to be allowed to use skype while using high speed.

Feb 22, 2007, 7:25 PM

Any use of a wireless network is detrimental!

This petition is gonna be smacked down quicker than Ike hit Tina. Any device accessing a wireless network is detrimental to the wireless network because each device takes a tiny slice of spectrum. A skype phone phone would take a slice of the spectrum, therefore lessening the capacity of the network.
All carriers would do is limit the kinds of phones compatible with their network. Impossible battle. Apparently, Skype thinks that we are in Europe or something.
Right on! What a crazy thought someone had. Design the network to support the needs and/or desires of the users rather than design the users to fit the network. You people are killing me with this thread.

Can someone refresh my memory as to why ...
Ike who? 😎

Feb 22, 2007, 3:53 PM

If this for some odd reason did occur...

Prices would go sky high because everyone would have to switch to compatible towers & phones... & that would just be a nightmare. Switching to GSM was hard enough.

Dream on Skype.
No I dont think prices would change much, no on would have to buy anything to be compatiable. They would just be buyin the phones they like to use with the carrier they currently have if that carrier doesnt have it.
I think it would be good, and not too much of a dream. Some carriers prevent services like Skype from being run with data plans on their networks.

This is not about networks, it's about carrier control on what consumers can use their data for. ...

Feb 22, 2007, 6:39 PM

This is already possible >>>>>

All you need is any Windows Mobile phone with a processor over 300mhz, and an unlimited hi speed data package. I have sucessfully installed Skype on the following models:

Now Skype doesn't offer an ecat download for WM Phones... you have to tweak the files a tad.... More info below...

HTC Dash

I had to modify all of these phones to work becuase their processors wern't fast enough... but if you take the Cingular 8525 and install Skype on it you will be golden (it has a 400mhz proc on it)... Although I wouldn't reccommend using T-Mobile's data package.... well at least where I am they are EDGE... not quite fast enough for a crisp clear call.... but almost...

if anyone has any questions on how to do this email...

Feb 22, 2007, 1:48 PM

Different situation

In the case of landline phones everyone was using the same type of network. Although there were numerous different network providers, one phone COULD be used with any of the networks with very little effort. Not the case for cell phone providers. All this would do, should it go through, is circumvent any kind of quality testing done by the carriers. It MAY in the end lower costs to the consumer, but the quality of customer service would go even lower than it currently is.

I can see it now...
customer: "my service isn't working very well"
Provider: "The service is fine, you bought a crappy phone from someone we didn't approve"

customer calls manufacturer of Phone
customer: "my phone isn't working very well"
Manufacturer: "The ph...
Yeah this is true, but how would they go about finding out what company you should go with? Because in the state that I live in there are no Cingular towers, but if I wanted a phone that only Cingular carries, and all phones run off the same things, ...
I'm not sure that I would agree with the argument that quality would go down. In fact, it probably wouldn't change much at all.

The manufacturer would work with the carriers to have their hardware certified on a particular network. Much like PCs....

Feb 22, 2007, 12:20 PM

yeah right

That will never happen, they are not trying to lower our prices. All they ever do is try to get more money out of whoever they can, lower our prices, bull!
I agree that will never happen, but if it does that would be good for us. Some companies already have low prices, I work for one such company, it would only mean more choices for us.
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