Until now, all four of Germany’s major mobile providers had tried to block VoIP applications such as Skype that would allow its customers to make cheap long-distance calls by using their phone's broadband internet connection.
In April, Deutsche Telekom tried to block the use of such applications on its handsets and via its internet hotspots, saying that the applications would create a high level of traffic that would put strain on the T-Mobile network.
Other networks followed suit and even tried to ban a Nokia handset that would come with the Skype application pre-installed.
Now, in order to become more competitive, O2 Germany, owned by Spain's Telefónica, is changing its position on the issue.
“We are one of the fastest and most modern mobile data networks in Europe and our customers should be able to experience that without restrictions,” marketing director of O2 Germany Lutz Schüler said in a press release on the company’s website. “By opening our mobile highspeed network for VoIP services, we are setting new benchmarks for mobile internet.”
T-Mobile has lifted the restriction on the Skype application, but now charges its customers €9.95 a month for a VoIP option.
O2’s minimal internet plan costs just €10 per month and allows 200 MB of data transfer before putting a throttle on the customer’s account. According to technology news site TechCrunch Europe, 200 MB is enough to make two hours of Skype calls to every country in the world.
VoIP software is already available for Blackberries, some Nokia models and Apple’s iPhone.