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Swedish Teleco Firms Looking Into Block VoIP Claiming Losses In Earnings 151

Posted by samzenpus
from the too-cheap-calls dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Telia, a Swedish telecommunications company, is now looking into possible solutions to block free VoIP services like Skype and Vibr, claiming the losses are beginning to take its toll on the total earnings. Critics are saying the companies have wrongly implemented outdated pricing models, and the act could threaten net transparency and Independence. A new report from regulators of the European phone market shows that more and more telecommunications companies will block their subscribers from using free services. The European Commission is investigating whether it is possible to prohibit the blocking of legal services online."
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Swedish Teleco Firms Looking Into Block VoIP Claiming Losses In Earnings

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  • We fixed this in NL (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2012 @02:19AM (#39519865)

    In the Netherlands, the largest telco (KPN) was also going to do this... then parliament rushed through a net neutrality law that forbids deep packet inspection and blocking specific traffic and the telcos backed off quickly. Now they can only charge by amount of data and speed. Maybe the Swedish will get lucky too now.

  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Friday March 30, 2012 @02:27AM (#39519915) Homepage Journal
    FUN FACT [wikipedia.org]: Sweden has the 30th highest suicide rate, below both New Zealand and Switzerland. The worst country in the world (for which we have statistics) is Lithuania, apparently.
  • Also in Finland (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie@hotmaiLIONl.com minus cat> on Friday March 30, 2012 @02:31AM (#39519933) Homepage

    TeliaSonera is a telco that actually operates both in Finland and in Sweden, and they're planning to block people from using Skype for free on the Finnish side of things, too. Their plan is to allow you to buy Skype talk-time that then allows the service through until the time is up. Do notice that this is in *addition* to what one already has to pay for Skype credits, so this has understandably created quite some negative commentary here and there.

    The funny thing is that it's only TeliaSonera contemplating on doing this, all the others are more than fine with the situation as it is, and are even actively promoting unrestricted mobile broadbands.

  • Not yet... (Score:4, Informative)

    by thrill12 (711899) on Friday March 30, 2012 @02:32AM (#39519943) Journal
    ...while the parliament voted on this (in favor) already, the Senate ("Eerste Kamer") can still vote it down. Although chances are slim, the (indirectly elected) Senate in the Netherlands proved in the past that their view of the country is sometimes substantially different from that of the directly elected representatives. Officially the Senate can only regard the law against the constitution, but recent developments made the senate a more political institute. Because currently there are critical negotiations going on to keep the government in office, there is no saying what will be decided in that meeting room that affects ongoing legislation, including any Senate decisions. ( https://www.bof.nl/2012/03/05/stemming-eerste-kamer-telecommunicatiewet-uitgesteld/ [www.bof.nl] in Dutch and https://www.bof.nl/2011/06/22/press-release-%E2%80%93-the-netherlands-first-country-in-europe-to-launch-net-neutrality/ [www.bof.nl] on the original law in English)
  • Re:Not yet... (Score:4, Informative)

    by pieterbos (2218218) on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:12AM (#39520115)

    Regardless of the law being accepted or not, the combination of the resistance amongst the public and the politicians agains the telco plans and the proposal of this law had a significant effect: the telco's withdrew their plans. And they are slowly switching to a different pricing model, where data is the main component. And in one case, already the new phone subsidy has changed into a phone lease, for which you pay separately if you want it.

    This does mean that the price of data becomes a significant amount of the price of your monthly phone bill. It doesn't magically mean that data is now free and unlimited, and not even that things like price differences within and outside of your data limit will disappear. You will not suddenly pay less in all cases, telephone companies still need to make money. But it does force them into a more fair pricing plan.

  • Re:What the heck? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Friday March 30, 2012 @04:17AM (#39520393) Homepage

    It's like this:

    In Europe most of us have flat-rate data for like, $10 a month. Some companies drop the speed after X megabytes but essentially there's no limits.

    Using VOIP we can talk 24/7 for the entire month for only $10. This makes it very popular, especially among foreigners who call home a lot.

    It's also very understandable that it makes the phone companies unhappy. They just gave you an Android smartphone for signing up, you're using their networks to make calls and they're only making $120 per year out of it.

  • Re:What the heck? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Friday March 30, 2012 @04:21AM (#39520417) Homepage

    It may not be 100% secure but it's enough that even the NSA hasn't got the power to do mass snooping. They'll have to pick and choose who they can afford to dedicate computing time to. ...and it's unlikely that it will be DES these days. AES is no harder for a programmer to implement.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2012 @04:34AM (#39520463)

    Hi, while I'm glad you have liked your stay (so far), I'd like to point out that Stockholm (Göteborg and Malmö) have extraordinary divorce rates, all of them about 50% higher than any "normal" region, secondly swedes born in Sweden (married to another swede) are less likely to get get a divorce than other couples in other regions of the world (hard to make a fair comparison tbh since these figures are compared to very large regions such as EU27, EU except EU 27, Africa, North America etc.) - it is speculated (by the fine gents at SCB (Statistics Sweden) that Stockholm et al. had that high ratios because 22-30% immigrants live there (than other regions) and some minorities, like africans, divorce twice as often (as the mean).

    So, please don't call swedes "uncommitted", if you think we're all lovable sex-maniacs at least say so :P

  • Re:What the heck? (Score:4, Informative)

    by MisterMidi (1119653) on Friday March 30, 2012 @05:00AM (#39520557) Homepage
    Yes, this is exactly why. Here in The Netherlands pretty much all operators have stopped offering unlimited plans though. Also, it's against the TOS to use VOIP, at least with my operator. I wouldn't be surprised if some operators block VOIP here too.
  • Re:What the heck? (Score:5, Informative)

    by spxZA (996757) on Friday March 30, 2012 @05:37AM (#39520687)
    Once a year I do some calculations, to figure out which is cheaper for me: a data-only mobile contract and Skype; or a voice contract.
    Skype claims that a skype-to-skype call is at 3MB/min, while a skype-to-landline/mobile is at 1MB/min. Considering that most of the calls that are make are to people that don't have skype, I'll use the latter figure.
    I sometimes use up to 400 minutes, or less (no carry-over, which is illegal, but we are too scared to fight this). So 350 minutes equates to 350MB skype-to-skype calls. Let's call it 400MB including presence, contact information. I use around 350MB/month when away from my wifi networks. The most applicable data bundle is 1GB, at ZAR290. An "unlimited" package goes for 10x this amount. So, I'll be paying around ZAR320/month for the contract, including their lovely add-ons they always manage to squeeze in.
    Next is the cost of skype. If i choose the pay-per-minute option, I'll be paying ZAR0.177/minute, or roughly ZAR61.95/month. This brings my total monthly bill to ZAR381.95, rounding up for the unexpected - ZAR400/month.
    I pay ZAR350 for 350 minutes per month, plus a few other items (promotion fee (WTF is that???), itemized statement). The cost of the phone is included in all of that. Assuming I don't go over any of my bundles (350 minutes, 100 sms, 350 GB), then I pay ZAR637/month. And yes, I do often go over my bundles.
    So, a data-only contract (it's not data only, but rather the only bundle is data. Voice calls are paid at full rates - ZAR2.85) is 75% of a voice contract. Plus, i pay the same for local calls as I do for international calls when done through skype. ZAR400 vs ZAR637 is a massive difference, making it well-worth it. If I choose the skype route, I end up paying my mobile operator ~ZAR340/month instead of ~ZAR640/month. They will lose out ZAR300/month - or ZAR7,000 over a 24 month contract period.
    If I was a mobile operator, I would hate to lose half of my income from a number of my users. But, that's what they get for bending us over the coals, pulling down our pants, and...well...this is a family show. I've used the most expensive skype option, so the prices for monthly or annual subscriptions would only drop.
    The only issue is that of battery consumption of skype, and coverage. I spend 99.9% of my time in urban areas with semi-decent data coverage. For the times when I'm in rural/low coverage areas, then I would pay out my of ass to do voice calls. But I'm not too worried about that.
    So my point is, yes mobile operators are losing money to VOIP. Yes, they can do something about that. But, they have been dropping their prices in recent years due to consumer demand and dissatisfaction, so they are losing "potential" revenue regardless. I say stick it to "the man" until we collapse the economy with all these work-arounds.

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