A new survey has revealed that networks in the UK that block internet voice calling (VoIP) services such as Skype and Rebtel run the risk of losing more than 18 million smartphone users.

In the survey of more than 1,000 UK phone users, carried out by Opinion Matters and funded by Rebtel, up to 60% of smartphone owners answered that they’d switch network providers if access to VoIP services were prevented – which could mean as many as 18 million users change networks.

The trouble is that networks lose money when people opt to make free calls through apps like Skype rather than making traditional phone calls. And several networks currently take measures to stop access to VoIP services.

But the real problem lies in the fact it’s not straightforward when it comes to which networks are preventing VoIP services as some allow the likes of Skype on certain phones only or on particular tariffs. In fact, a recent report showed that around 20% of users across Europe experience restrictions – but the Opinion Matters survey highlighted 71% of users do not understand why networks may block VoIP services.

Only 8% of people said networks have the right to stop users accessing VoIP on their handsets.

Andreas Bernstrom, CEO at Rebtel, said: “We keep a close eye on the factors that prevent us from delivering a fast and quality calling service to our customers.

“Traffic shaping is a much debated topic within the telecommunications industry and it has been brought to the attention of Berec (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) who are investigating this further to understand the extent of traffic management practices and how it affects consumers’ use of services.”

Would you switch network provider if VoIP services were blocked on your smartphone?

[Source: Huffington Post]

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