Mobile To Skype Link Will Raise Legal Questions

from the read-those-terms-and-conditions dept

A year ago, we wrote about i2 Telecom’s plan to offer a mobile to VoIP bridge. The idea was pretty straightforward. You would plug in a box to your broadband, just like you do with a regular phone replacement (Vonage-style) VoIP system now. Then, from your mobile phone, you could call into the VoIP box, and then spin calls outbound. As we noted at the time, it seemed to have limited uses for domestic calls — which are normally included in a huge amount of bundled minutes. However, it could be quite interesting for international calls, where VoIP rates are often much, much cheaper than mobile phone rates. Still, another issue came up a few months later: the mobile operators started to freak out about such bridges claiming they might be illegal, or at the very least, in violation of various terms and conditions. So, just imagine how they’re going to respond now that some company is trying to do the same thing with Skype. Rather than requiring a box, you’d basically be calling into your computer’s Skype account, and then spinning out your outbound calls via SkypeOut. If that sounds complicated and nichey, it probably is — but it certainly shows a pretty creative way to move Skype to a mobile phone without any software, and there’s no reason something similar couldn’t be done with Yahoo’s new-found fascination with VoIP — and once again, Yahoo’s telco partners might begin wondering about the relationship.

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