Skype attacks money-grabbing mobile networks

Skype has attacked mobile firms who want to charge sites for moving large amounts of data across their networks.

Skype attacks money-grabbing mobile networks

Mobile network providers want the EU Commission to allow them to charge bandwidth-intensive services such as Skype, YouTube or Spotify.

“The first point is that it’s not ‘their’ network… it [the internet] has grown thanks to more than 40,000 networks voluntarily interconnecting to form an open, decentralised network of networks,” Skype’s head of government relations, Jean-Jaques Sahel, said in a post on the firm’s blog.

Innovative content and app developers are the raison d’être for the mobile Internet. Without them operators would not sell a single data plan

“The operators making the complaints right now only carry the data for a small part of its journey around the web. The rest of the internet ecosystem is based on a successful business model that does not and never had such subsidising of infrastructure companies by content providers. Should water companies be allowed to charge garden centres, pasta makers and coffee producers for encouraging demand for water consumption?”

Sahel added the providers’ networks would be useless without popular content and services such as Spotify, Facebook or Wikipedia as this was “the raison d’être for the mobile internet. Without them operators would not sell a single data plan.”

He also warned that forcing fees onto data-intensive services would stifle the development of mobile internet services and apps.

The issue is currently being debated in Brussels as part of the discussion over ‘net neutrality’, which also encompasses the issue of ISPs being allowed to prioritise certain web traffic over others. Neelie Kroes, the vice president of the EC, has previously said “commercial motivations” should not stifle freedom of expression online.

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