While it is possible to get Skype up and running on your mobile network using crafty workarounds like Fring it is hardly what the VoIP phenomenon envisaged for its software and now it has lost patience with the mobile networks who bar it.
Consequently this week Skype has gone directly to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to fight back. It is quoted as “asking regulators to force cellphone carriers to loosen their controls on what kinds of hardware and software can be connected to their networks” or in other words: stop them from blocking our service. After all Skype can be installed on any Windows Mobile based device but getting it to work is another matter entirely.
Skype has a strong legal argument too since it is quoting the Carterfone ruling which at the time (1968) enabled “other devices to be connected directly to the AT&T network, as long as they did not cause damage to the system.” Skype clearly adheres to this description so long as it can convince the FCC to apply it to mobile networks.
Naturally the mobile networks themselves will fight such moves tooth and nail but if it is true (as reported) that an unnamed cellular trade group defended itself by saying Skype’s argument “completely disregards consumer benefits provided by a competitive marketplace” then I can only suggest the FFC not only instantly hand Skype victory but punish the mystery network with a sizeable fee for its blatant stupidity and strongly suggest it never opens its mouth again.
As it stands however while Skype clearly has an excellent case which should win through in the end I suspect it will face extensive red tape and less than honourable stalling tactics on a long and winding legal road ahead...