Skype slams mobile operators for being greedy

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Skype's European director of government and regulatory affairs Jean-Jacques Sahel has hit out at mobile operators for jeopardising net neutrality through greed.

In a blog post, he complains about suggestions that they should be allowed to charge fees to companies such as Skype who offer services over their networks.

"The first point is that it's not ‘their’ network... The operators making the complaints right now only carry the data for a small part of its journey around the web," he says.

"Should water companies be allowed to charge garden centres, pasta makers and coffee producers for encouraging demand for water consumption?"

He also accuses the operators of biting the hand that feeds them.

"There has been a big increase in sales of data plans, thanks only  to the appeal of all kinds of online content, services and applications like Skype, Wikipedia, Spotify, or Facebook," he says.
"Innovative content and app developers are the raison d’être for the mobile Internet. Without them operators would not sell a single data plan."

Sahel certainly has reason to be twitchy right now. Both the French and Dutch governments are currently examining telecom legislation, while the EU is in the process of a major review of the principles of net neutrality.

Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, said earlier this month that the proposed non-discrimination principle from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) needed  careful examination.

"Some are interpreting the non-discrimination principle as essentially preventing telecom operators from seeking commercial payments or agreements with content providers which deliver their highly capacity-consuming services through broadband networks and require a certain level of service for their transmission to be effective," she said.

"That prospect raises a number of delicate and complex issues. These issues must be very carefully assessed before the EU gives any possible regulatory response."