Skype is ptiching to be allowed onto the cell phone networks. Ooooh, this'll be a big fight, although as the law stands, it looks like they could win:
Skype Ltd. 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 Inc. 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.
One European company already seems to understand this. T-Mobile has a number of tariffs that don't care what you do with hte bandwidth, that's all they charge you for.