Swedish operator TeliaSonera to charge for VoIP, Skype


Swedish telecom service provider TeliaSonera is taking a step that other European operators--as well as some of their U.S. counterparts--have been loathe to because of concerns about net neutrality interpretations. The company, today said it would start charging for VoIP calls, including those made across the Skype platform, in an effort to "start exploring new business models."

Not only will it charge for the services, TeliaSonera said that it plans to charge more for VoIP than it does for other data.

The telco said it will bump prices in Sweden and in its Spanish market, too, in an effort to recoup revenues lost as the free services increasingly encroach on voice and SMS revenues.

"We have been in the forefront stating that while prices for voice will continue to come down there must be a stronger correlation between usage and pricing of data," the company wrote in its interim report. "We have been early in introducing tiered pricing of data, lower costs for data roaming and recently openly communicated that we will start to charge for mobile VoIP."

VoIP and Skype have sometimes faced a tough go in Europe as some operators have looked for ways to make it less appealing to consumers.

In March, a European telecom regulator accused telecom companies of routinely using traffic management rules to interfere with VoIP traffic as well as peer-2-peer file sharing.

Data from some 400 European operators--250 fixed and 150 mobile--shows blocking of VoIP calls, especially on mobile networks, is common, according to a study from the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC).

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