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From: Done, gone.2/24/2007 1:02:10 AM
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Skype asks FCC to force open mobile networks

macworld.com

By Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service

Skype is looking to a 1968 ruling by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to open up the country’s mobile phone industry for “unlocked” devices and third-party applications—such as Skype.

The eBay unit, a pioneer in peer-to-peer VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol), petitioned the FCC this week to affirm that the landmark Carterphone decision applies to the cellular world. That ruling, which involved an early type of wireless handset, said carriers couldn’t stop consumers from attaching any device to the wired telecommunications network as long as it couldn’t do any damage.

Letting any device connect to cellular networks would gradually open the door to a wide range of new choices for consumers, including handsets that use VoIP for voice calls over operators’ 3G (third-generation) data networks. Almost all cell phones in use on mobile networks in the U.S. are sold by the operators and locked so they can’t be used on another provider’s network. But Skype’s proposal also would stop carriers from blocking or forbidding applications on 3G networks—again, as long as those applications can’t damage the network.

The plan cuts to the heart of mobile operators’ revenue stream, which still predominantly comes from voice calls and also depends on exclusive ringtone, music, video and other services offered by the carriers. But there’s no reason the earlier ruling on the wireline phone network shouldn’t apply to mobile, according to Christopher Libertelli, Skype’s senior director for government and regulatory affairs. In addition, preventing carriers from blocking outside applications is in keeping with the FCC’s policy on network neutrality, he said.

Cellular providers have always had closed networks, but the rollout of 3G makes possible many more uses of those networks, he said.

“What we’re trying to do is get in front of that trend so that policy is set in the correct way,” Libertelli said. In addition to the new rules, Skype proposed an industry forum to determine what types of devices are harmful to the wireless network.

The mobile industry promptly slammed Skype’s petition. It would freeze innovation, according to a statement by Steve Largent, president and CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association, an industry group.

“Skype’s self-interested filing contains glaring legal flaws and a complete disregard for the vast consumer benefits provided by the competitive marketplace,” Largent said.

Skype’s Libertelli said the company has a big job to do in educating cellular companies and others but believes the change would help carriers by creating new uses for their networks.

It’s hard to predict how the FCC may respond to Skype’s petition, said Johna Till Johnson, president of Nemertes Research, in Mokena, Ill. In recent years the agency has been alternately supportive and wary of disruptive technologies, she said. It might even drag its heels on making a ruling, not wanting to be drawn into a big political fight. It’s most likely to come down somewhere in the middle, Johnson believes.

Though the cost of phone calls might fall if Skype won, there could be a downside: Without the incentive of selling their captive services, cellular companies might be less motivated to upgrade their networks, Johnson said.

Skype expects the agency to put the petition out for public comment and response, a process that would take several weeks.

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To: Done, gone. who wrote (154)2/24/2007 10:13:54 AM
From: Done, gone.
   of 170
 
Opening the dialog about consumer rights on wireless (mobile) networks

share.skype.com

By Jaanus on February 24, 2007 in News, Events, Milestones.

There are two business practices that we currently see happening in the wireless networks, especially in the US. (Note that in this post, I use “wireless” in the sense of “mobile” and not wifi.) One is to lock the phones to the network of a given carrier so that you have to stay with a given carrier for a period of time and cannot switch even if you want to (or switching is very costly and complicated). Another is to dictate to the phone manufacturers which feature they can or can not have on a given market. For example, some new mobile phones have two models: one for the European market with wifi, and another for the US market without wifi, because the US carriers do not want people to be able to use wifi from their phones.

Both of these practices have been going on for a while and everyone seems to have drifted into thinking that this is “how things always were” and this is how they should be.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We at Skype think different. We obviously want to run Skype on as many mobile devices as possible, and it would help us if the networks and devices were more open. We continue to believe in innovation and consumer choice and we believe that many people would choose Skype for calling over their mobile phone’s data plan or wifi if they had a choice. Choice and competition is always good for users.

We want to open up a dialog with users, wireless carriers, phone manufacturers and the other related parties in the US. So on February 20 (just this week), we filed a petition with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that describes our thinking on this and suggests to open an industry forum to discuss the situation and possible ways forward. (FCC is the government body in the US that regulates wireless carriers.) Download the petition here.

I really encourage you to take a look at the full petition text if you’re interested in this industry and matter. I read it myself — it’s not some horrible zillion-page legal mumbo-jumbo, it’s just 36 pages of quite readable human-language text (there are some “legal” footnotes and such, but you can just skip those) with plenty of links and background information. Here is my version of some more interesting bits and pieces from it.

Historical background and where we are today
This discussion is actually nothing new. We had exactly the same discussion in the 1960s in the US about whether or not you could attach any device to your phone network. The phone companies didn’t initially want this, as it was obviously more profitable for them to allow you only use (buy) their own devices (phones). The FCC interfered and said it’s OK to connect any device, as long as it does not harm the network. This decision was the key in driving innovation in phone networks. Eventually, it made possible to have new types of communication like fax and dial-up internet connections. Who knows, maybe dial-up internet (and thus internet in general as we know it today, as it was the dial-up connection that really made it popular) would never have happened if the phone companies had got their way.

It happened again in the 1990s with broadband internet connections where the broadband service providers wanted to say what device you could or could not use. And again, FCC stepped in and said that the network providers should not dictate to users which devices they may or may not use. And now it works great. These days, if you buy an Internet connection to your home or office, what you typically get is just a cable. You are then free to choose which types of devices from which manufacturer to connect, be it a simple wireless router from company X, or an advanced router plus firewall from Y, and maybe some extra switches and firewalls etc, as long as the devices are compatible with the network’s basic technical standards and protocols. This has been great for innovation and competition and ultimately users, as the broadband devices keep getting cheaper and better and everybody wins.

So now we have a situation where you have a lot of freedom in the wired phone and broadband networks, but if it becomes wireless, then suddenly you have to do everything as the service provider says and you have much less freedom and choice. You cannot really decide which features or applications to use on your phone because some of them have been intentionally disabled or crippled by the wireless carrier. And your phone is often connected to one particular carrier and it’s expensive and inconvenient to switch. Or, a cool new phone model may be exclusively offered only by a carrier you don’t happen to like, and have a choice of whether to not buy the phone and remain with your preferred carrier but worse phone, or to buy the new phone and be bound to a carrier that you don’t like. (It’s better in Europe where you can typically buy an “unlocked” full-featured phone and decide yourself which network to connect it to.)

With this petition, we are suggesting to re-examine the situation in the US and open a dialog with all the involved parties.

How can you help?
Feel free to re-post this on your own blog, forum, homepage or wherever you can. Talk with your friends. Spread the word.

There are some other things you can read to learn more about what some people call “wireless net neutrality”. If you don’t know them yet, learn more about professors Tim Wu at Columbia Law School and Larry Lessig at Stanford Law School, as we have been working together with them on this. Here are some more links that we recommend.

spectrumpolicy.org
freepress.org
lessig.org
newamerica.net

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From: Maurice Winn3/26/2007 3:34:38 PM
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9,139,190 users online. New world record. vs 5,877,815 a year ago = an increase of 55% which is a pretty good growth rate in anyone's book.

Mqurice

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To: Maurice Winn who wrote (156)4/18/2007 12:09:36 PM
From: Maurice Winn
   of 170
 
9,224,399 users online. New world record.

Mqurice

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From: Maurice Winn10/5/2007 4:28:29 AM
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That seems to have been the maximum for Skype. Perhaps they sold it to eBay at just the right time.

Mqurice

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To: Maurice Winn who wrote (157)3/2/2008 2:38:28 AM
From: Maurice Winn
1 Recommendation   of 170
 
That seems to have been the peak. I haven't seen anything higher. Good timing on the sale, that's for sure. The price too!

Mqurice

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To: Maurice Winn who wrote (159)3/24/2008 4:56:46 PM
From: Maurice Winn
1 Recommendation   of 170
 
Not so fast Mq. 10,816,400 on-line right now.

Mqurice

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From: Margin of Safety3/21/2012 5:44:30 PM
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Live video calling - TelyHD & Skype

Call anyone in the world on any Skype compatible device such as mobile phones, PCs, iPads, etc. Turn any HDTV into a Skype enabled TV. Wi-Fi enabled and no computer required.

Simply plug it into the HDMI port on your TV and you can call anyone - anywhere in the world.

No Monthly Fees

tely.com

tely.com


TelyHD puts video calls on TV at a lower price
By Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY
Updated 2/8/2012

Play Video How it Works: usatoday.com

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To: Margin of Safety who wrote (161)3/27/2012 12:46:37 AM
From: Maurice Winn
1 Recommendation   of 170
 
Your post prompted me to see how many people are on-line with Skype right now. Skype no longer appears to offer that information. Or it's hidden somewhere.

Mqurice

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To: Maurice Winn who wrote (162)3/29/2012 1:11:20 AM
From: Margin of Safety
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1 out of 177 people on this planet was running a Skype client on his computer or mobile device

39 million people online today !

Quite amazing growth the last weeks. In less than one month Skype added 6 million concurrent people online! Never seen such a growth!
As Steve Schoen from Hawaiinoticed, with a world population of 7,003,003,370 this means that 1 out of 177 people on this planet was running a Skype client on his computer or mobile device (with 39.5 million people online some minutes ago!). Of course, some are running more than one account at the same time, like I often do, but I guess this is a minority!


skypenumerology.blogspot.com

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Message # 162 from Maurice Winn at 3/27/2012 12:46:37 AM

Your post prompted me to see how many people are on-line with Skype right now. Skype no longer appears to offer that information. Or it's hidden somewhere.

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