Microsoft’s Skype VoIP and instant messaging service is being investigated by French regulator Arcep on the grounds of failing to register as a wireless carrier. According to the New York Times, Arcep has repeatedly requested Skype declare itself a communications operator, but the company has thus far failed to do so.
Even though Skype’s service is only available through VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), Arcep considers any company that can be used to route emergency calls or for wiretapping reasons as a telecommunications operator. Because Skype users can communicate on either a phone, tablet or computer, Arcep claims “[Skype] constitutes furnishing a telephone service to the public.”
Microsoft, of course, disagrees and has responded by arguing Skype is not, in fact, a “provider of electronic communications services under French law,” and therefore should not be under investigation.
“When you act as a French operator you have to register as an operator,” Jean-Francois Hernandez said.
There’s no telling if Microsoft will be victorious in its battle or not, but do you think Skype (and possibly other VoIP providers in the future) should have to register as a mobile carrier?