Brussels: Microsoft’s internet phone call and messaging service Skype can be considered a telecoms operator as it offers a paid-for service and has a deal with network operators to carry calls, Europe’s top court said on Wednesday.
A Belgian court and the Belgian Institute of Postal and Telecommunications Service (IBPT) had sought guidance from the European Court of Justice on whether Skype’s SkypeOut service, which allows users to call from computers to a fixed or mobile line for a fee, should be subject to the same regulation as a traditional telecoms company.
— Laura Kayali (@LauKaya) June 5, 2019
Skype had argued that it did not transmit signals and that it did not provide any electronic communication service as those defined by current EU rules either.
Microsoft said it would comply with the ruling, which will require the paid-for service to adhere to more onerous regulation.
Seeking to address the gap between traditional telecoms providers and new internet-based rivals, the European Commission two years ago adopted rules for the sector known as the European Electronic Communications Code which covers Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and other voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services.
EU countries have until the end of 2020 to implement the rules.
What is Skype?
Skype is an application for telecommunications that specialises in providing video chat and voice calls between computers, tablets, mobile devices, the Xbox One console and smartwatches through the Internet.
Skype also provides instant messaging services. Users may transmit text, video, audio and images. Skype allows video conference calls.
The latest version of Skype for Windows is Skype 11, which is based on the Universal Windows Platform and runs on various Windows 10-related systems, including Xbox One, Windows phones, and Microsoft Hololens. Microsoft still offers the older Skype 8, which is Win32-based and runs on all systems from Windows XP (which is otherwise unsupported by Microsoft) to the most recent release of Windows 10.
In late 2017, this version was upgraded to Skype 12.9 in which several features were both removed and added.