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EU may force telcos to allow VoIP on phones

It looks like ordinary smartphones will soon be able to VoIP freely

In a move that should have phone owners breaking out the bubbly and mobile operators crying into their beer, the EU looks set to force networks to allow VoIP services like Skype to use regular phone connections.

The EU's Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding wants to stop phone operators using their dominance to "block innovative services" like VoIP.

Cut-throat competition

That goes against the general feeling among telcos that allowing customers to use flat-rate data plans for free IP calls would be akin to cutting their own throats.

Already, smartphones like the iPhone come with mandatory flat-rate data plans with calls charges added on top. If full VoIP access were granted, owners of such handsets would never need to pay for a call again.

The Wi-Fi way

Deutsche Telekom, which also owns T-Mobile, recently reaffirmed that it was against VoIP access, which may have led the EU to consider anti-competition charges against it.

Currently, smartphone owners wishing to use VoIP software like Skype typically have to hook up by Wi-Fi and not through a phone's 3G connection.