Want To Get Out Of Your iPhone Contract on T-Mobile Germany? Easy, Just Use Skype

from the verboten dept

Skype has gotten some press this week after it announced the availability of a an iPhone client for its service (except in Canada, though, thanks to patent issues). The application only works over WiFi, though, and not the cellular data network. Operators typically say these restrictions are in order to prevent the use of massive amounts of bandwidth and harm network performance for other users; what seems more likely is they’re worried that Skype will “steal voice minutes” away from their network. That’s a silly belief though, because when users are already paying for a big bundle of minutes, and have unlimited off-peak minutes, and so on, it’s not very likely they’ll go to the trouble of using Skype for most calls. Perhaps the only ones they’d use such an application for are for calls they weren’t going to make through the operator’s network anyway — such as international calls, for which they’d use a cheaper landline, a calling card, or wait until they’re in front of a PC. Blocking Skype from working over the mobile network only hurts the operators by putting up a barrier in front of customers, it really doesn’t protect any revenues. But no matter, the blocking — or worse — goes on. In Germany, where Skype is the top download from the App Store, T-Mobile (the operator which sells the iPhone there) is threatening to terminate the contracts of customers who use Skype on their iPhones, because the contracts prohibit the use of VoIP services. That’s a nice touch: play by our rules, or you’ll no longer have the privilege of giving us your money. You know, that doesn’t sound so bad, because then users are free to take their business elsewhere. Although, as Skype’s general counsel points out, every other mobile operator in Germany also bans VoIP.

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Companies: t-mobile

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Comments on “Want To Get Out Of Your iPhone Contract on T-Mobile Germany? Easy, Just Use Skype”

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9 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Possibly. It would depend on how that clause is worded. Most that I have seen only address user termination, not provider termination. If you terminate MY account, do you think I’m going to PAY you for it? I think not. Then again, I also do not subscribe to any service that has a fee associated with my termination of services.

Avatar28 says:

Can the even do that?

I know things like copyright are kind of wonky over in Europe, at least from the perspective of most of us Yanks, but can they even ban what you do with if you’re not transmitting it on their network? Seems to me that would be akin to them saying that you aren’t allowed to use a wifi connection to surf the web, you HAVE to use their data connection. Or, heck, saying that you aren’t allowed to play solitarie. For that matter, how do they even KNOW if you’ve been using Skype over wi-fi? Is there some back door that tells them what apps you run?

Jed says:

What about data only plans?

You are forgetting one very important variable, data only plans. Through T-Mobile you can purchase an unlimited data only plan for about $35/mo. And for about $5/mo in addition you can get unlimited in/out calling via Skype anywhere you have a 3G signal. To get a similar plan through your cellphone provider will often cost between $700-1300 a year more!

There is good reason for cell providers to block voip. But disguising it as the customers best interest is absurd.

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