The European Union (EU) is preparing legislation to force carriers to allow VoIP to run on their cellular networks.

EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding has said that "action" should be taken against carriers that use their market power to block "innovative services".

The EU has already prepared draft legislation that would open smartphones to the technology, according to a report published in Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper.

European carriers view VoIP technology as a threat to their business model and have widely banned VoIP from being used on their networks.

Currently each EU country has to decide on how they deal with blocked Internet services. The recent decision by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom to block VoIP could lead to the EU raising antitrust charges against the carrier.

It wants to ban use of Skype on both its 3G network and its extensive Wi-Fi hot spot network.

The company’s reasoning is that the program’s high data use would choke the network infrastructure and that it violates the customer contract.

T-Mobile USA is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom.

The issue is also likely to come to the fore in the US.

Last week, an open-Internet advocacy group asked the Federal Communications Commission to investigate whether Apple and AT&T are violating federal rules by limiting use of Skype’s iPhone service.

The request by Free Press could open up a broader review of the ways in which wireless companies control the use of their networks in the US.

Subscribe to our Newsletter