Feeds

Fring-Skype iPhone slanging match: Telcos v freetards

Skype grows up, gets haircut, goes to work for The Man

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Skype, telcos - that mobile data link isn't yours to do as you like with

With the advent of smartphones, Skype at first seemed to be carrying on with the same philosophy. For a long time, the only way to use Skype itself (as opposed to Fring or similar things) on a smartphone was a Windows Mobile app, which had no video-calling but did permit the use of the phone's mobile data link rather than Wi-Fi.

Subsequently, however, Skype started doing deals with mobile operators: often this would see the handset connecting to Skype's P2P network using a normal voice channel rather than data, relieving pressure on data services.

After much delay a version of Skype appeared for the iPhone: but users should note that it offers no video, and furthermore that Skype calls on iPhones via 3G will be subject to a monthly fee from the end of this year. There are other deals in place on other platforms, all done in full cooperation with mobile providers.

Meanwhile the Windows Mobile client has quietly vanished (though it still works for the moment) along with the Skype Lite app that let mobile users connect to Skype using their voice minutes without any mobe-network involvement.

The erstwhile P2P freetard business would rather say in public that the WinMo app was canned due to issues with getting the audio to come out of the right speaker*, and that Fring have been locked out because their initial iPhone 4 capacity struggle blackened Skype's good name for quality call service (!!). But this isn't vastly credible.

Skype would seem to be trying harder and harder these days to make money rather than merely sign users - in particular by working with the telecoms networks rather than banging heads with them.

Fring, on the other hand, is sticking very much to the wild idea that if a person owns a device with a data link - and has a deal to pay a certain sum for data service - they should be able to do what they like with these things. Helping users do this may not make any money, but who cares? Not Fring, so far.

Such notions are of course a bitter pill for mobile telcos who may have paid billions for 3G licences, hoping to reap a rich bonanza charging fat per-minute fees for video calling - only to find that all they get is a relatively paltry monthly data fee. They'd rather, at the very least, get a slice of iPhone-style extra payment on top of the data tariff - especially if they're going to have to sink large sums into upgrading their data networks to cope with demand, as seems very necessary in many cases.

In any case, the telco fatcats would say, you probably only have that smartphone because we bought it for you: it's not really yours, it's ours and we'll say what you can do with it and what that will cost you.

Users might reasonably counter-argue that the costs of subsidising smartphones are more than repaid via lengthy contracts with hefty monthly fees, and maybe it would be nice to at least ease up on the locking and crippling a bit.

And so the long winter evenings fly by. This battle looks set to run and run. ®

*This was an issue with the WinMo app, which tended to put the audio out through the external speaker rather than the earpiece one. It was/is easily dealt with by using a headset, however.

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.