MS Skype pushing for VOIP access in UK, Ofcom supporting

After UK telecom regulator Ofcom expressed support for Skype’s VOIP service, saying restrictions on Skype’s services stifle innovation and it may take action if the blocking persists, Microsoft said it will step up negotiations with UK mobile phone companies to open up their service.

Skype complained to Ofcom last year, saying its services are regularly impeded by mobile operators.

“You would expect us to be more impatient than Ofcom,” Jean-Jacques Sahel, head of European regulatory affairs at Skype, said in a telephone interview. “In Europe, there’s still a huge amount of restrictions.”

VOIP software are regularly blocked either via policy or via actual blocking of common ports, with users either not having access at all or having to pay for a much higher tier of data access to be allowed to use the feature.

Examples include T-Mobile UK and Vodafone, with both O2 and 3 UK allowing free access.

“To have that extra hint from Ofcom is helpful and should allow us to continue the dialog,” Sahel said. “We need the few that lag behind to catch up.”

Microsoft, which completed the takeover of Skype for $8.5 billion last month, plans to incorporate the service in its Windows Phone products.

Read more at Bloomberg here.

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