Skype for iPhone was released this week, during the first day of CTIA in Las Vegas. We wondered what the reaction of operators will be, since you can use a data connection to talk, instead of paying for your 15 second intervals. Well, Deutsche Telekom, owner of T-Mobile, iPhone's exclusive carrier in Germany has the answer for you.
According to the statement given to the local German media, T-Mobile Deutschland press-spinner Alexandar von Schmettow stated that the company is openly blocking out VoIP applications: "It is clearly stated in our customer contracts that such services may not be used," You might ask yourself why is that - "There are two reasons for this -- because the high level of traffic would hinder our network performance, and because if the Skype program didn't work properly, customers would make us responsible for it." http://www.wiwo.de/unternehmer-maerkte/telekom-will-neues-skype-programm-fuer-iphone-und-blackberry-blockieren-392509/
How all nice and lovely. However, there is just one small problem, actually two. First of all, Skype is not a VoIP application - the software uses Peer-to-Peer connections, much in the same way as your favorite Bit-Torrent client. Secondly, what T-Mobile obviously didn't consider is following scenario: a user walks into the T-Mobile store, picks up an iPhone 3G for 1 Euro (subsidized), walks away, installs Skype and finds a way to crack into the now barred T-Mobile's UMTS/Wi-Fi Hotspot network. According to the breach of contract, T-Mobile will cut you off, but there is no force that can require that you return the iPhone to them.
Note: you have access to Skype if you use your Wi-Fi or public infrastructure, but you cannot use T-Mobile's "My own, my precious" network. You're free to give any German-related derogatory comments when it comes to T-Com, we'll refrain ourselves. Jailbreak the phone and you go home free… don't pay with your credit card, of course. And if T-Mobile creates an action against you, they're breaking national Consumer Protection rules. Life is really interesting sometimes.
There is just one thing that the author of these lines doesn't miss from earlier life in Dusseldorf, Germany: using Deutsche Telekom services, that being T-Com for fixed line/Internet or T-Mobile for their pathetic network. For cell-phones, I used D2 Mannesmann and then D2 Vodafone.