Would Telikom block Skype?

By Emmanuel Narokobi

An interesting thing about the company Verso Technologies that won the contract to upgrade Telikoms’ mobile network, back in late 2005 allot of articles came out about their technology to block Skype.

Now I obviously won’t know if this was a criteria for Verso being selected by Telikom, but most of you will have already heard and already do use Skype in and outside of PNG. VOIP applications are a big headache for Telco’s not only for the sake of lost revenues but some claim also for security reasons on the network.

Whatever the Pro’s and Con’s of allowing VOIP applications over Telikom’s network, I just thought it was interesting to note this feature from Verso.

I do certainly hope though that Telikom is not planning to stop me from using Skype, but I think the technology mentioned below is in regards to landlines or internet services and not the mobile network that Verso has been contracted by Telikom to work on.

Below is an article on Verso in China.

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U.S. company hopes to block Skype in China

Verso’s filter is designed to block VoIP calls as well as other peer-to-peer apps

By Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service
November 08, 2005

Verso Technologies, of Atlanta, Georgia, hopes to soon win a contract to block Chinese Internet users from using eBay’s Skype VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) software, the company said Monday.

A Chinese telecommunications operator has begun a paid trial of Verso’s NetSpective M-Class filter, a product that is designed to block VoIP calls made using Skype, as well as other peer-to-peer applications, Verso said in a statement. If the paid trial now underway in one Chinese city goes well, the operator will purchase the NetSpective M-Class application filter before the end of the year, it said. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The trial is representative of the significant opportunities for Verso’s products in the Chinese market, where VoIP is highly regulated and the use of Skype software has been deemed illegal,” said Yves Desmet, Verso’s senior vice president of worldwide sales, in a statement.

Verso did not provide additional details of the trial to block Skype or name the Chinese operator behind the project.

In September, China Telecommunications (China Telecom), one of two major fixed-line operators in China, began blocking SkypeOut calls made from Shenzhen, a southern Chinese city that lies along the border with Hong Kong. SkypeOut is a service that allows someone with the Skype software installed on their PC to make international phone calls at a fraction of the cost that a telecommunications operator would charge.

The blocking of SkypeOut calls from Shenzhen started several days before Verso announced on Sept. 14 the availability of the NetSpective M-Class application filter, which the company billed as “carrier-grade Skype filtering technology.”

While Verso said in its release that the use of Skype is illegal in China, the situation is more nuanced.

Chinese government officials have been generally tolerant of VoIP software, such as Skype, that is used to make calls from one PC to another. But the ability of Skype users to make calls to a phone via the SkypeOut service is more sensitive, because this directly affects the revenue that operators such as China Telecom earn from international phone calls.

On the one hand, the Chinese government owns the carriers and will act to defend their interests, said Duncan Clark, managing director of BDA China, a telecommunications consultancy in Beijing. However, the Chinese government also wants to see the price of making phone calls come down, he said.

“It’s a question of bureaucratic politics,” Clark said.

In China, Skype has made an effort to show its sensitivity to the concerns of operators. The Chinese-language version of the Skype software made available through a partnership with Tom Online only permits calls from one PC to another; SkypeOut calls are not permitted. However, Chinese users can access SkypeOut by downloading the software directly from the Skype Web site, http://www.skype.com.

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5 thoughts on “Would Telikom block Skype?

  1. I think we can safely assume Telikom will look into blocking Skype or any program for that matter that has the effect of circumnavigating their pricing regime. The only issue I foresee will be the cost related. That is whether the cost in acquiring the appropriate technology is acceptable compared to the loss of revenues through the use of such applications. But with technology developing the rate it has over the last ten to twenty years any system put in place by Telikom would soon become redundant and need to be either upgraded or replaced. So the costs associated in implementing such blocking technologies are not a one off expense and will over time accumulate. But Telikom has an ace up its sleeve doesn’t it. It is a State entity. It is a great revenue earner for the State so it is in the interest of the State to protect Telikom. So instead of Telikom buying technologies to block VOIP applications the State can simply pass a law outlawing them. A simple majority vote in parliament passing a law that is declared to be “in the national interest” should do it. Such as law would have all ISP’s monitor and report use of VOIP applications by their subscribers who would be penalized accordingly. Welcome to the possible future.

  2. Carlos, that’s quite a scary future you’re predicting there…but it is certainly possible and highly probable.

    Either Telikom outlaws VOIP applications or they work with it and develop their own VOIP service which we pay for and use within PNG. Other Telco’s have worked with Skype so Telikom could also just embrace the future.

  3. Most US Telcos and other western Telcos have embraced VoIP and have cashed in by providing users alternatives to sign up with them for VoIP…..why swim against the ravaging tide of technological shifts when you can ride it……So Telikom should come up with some sort of affordable VoIP packages to the consumer to retain some form of market share in the VoIP arena…..outlawing VoIP will do more harm than good….If Telikom knows that most PNGeans choose Skype to make International calls then they should have special rates for such calls (SkypeOut) so as to encourage more PNGeans to use ‘their’ Skype service….if they intend to filter SkypeOut calls….more friendlier than out-right outlawing…..

    Two Toea tingting bilong mi tasol…..

    Mulai catch………Shane

  4. I suppose in the Land of the Unexpected anything is possible but if Telikom do (in their wisdom) end up blocking Skype then we’ll just have to let folks know how to circumvent the situation.

    If your interested in how others have done it then do a Google search on: “Circumvent ISPs Blocking IP Telephony”.

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