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SA telco says VoIP is illegal

Oh no it ain't, counters Skype

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Telkom - South Africa's incumbent telco - has warned that consumers using VoIP could face legal action because it believes the use of such software is against the law.

And it's threatened to lodge a formal complaint with the regulator if it believes the problem is getting out of hand.

The company doesn't believe VoIP software (which enables users to make calls over the Net for nowt) such as Skype is a threat to its revenues.

However, Telkom spokesman, Andrew Weldrick, told South Africa IT mag IT Web: "As far as Telkom is concerned, 'network bypass' software is illegal and - although it is difficult to police - if we feel there has been a transgression in this regard, we can investigate and file a complaint with the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA), and it will then take the necessary legal action."

London-based Skype said it was aware of the issue but insisted that Skype is not illegal in South Africa.

Niklas Zennström, CEO & Co-founder of Skype told The Register: "Skype is not telephony since it does not provide telephony calls between public telephones and it is not using the public telephone numbering plan.

"Both EU and US have recognised that Skype is not telephony, therefore Skype does not fall under the South African telecom monopoly law," he said. ®

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