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China Reportedly Says It Will Block Some VoIP Calls

China says it will block computer-to-landline phone service for two years, in order to protect its own local telephone services, it was reported Tuesday.

Wang Leilei, the head of the Chinese Internet portal Tom Online, told the Financial Times that Beijing would not issue voice over Internet protocol licenses until 2008. Tom Online has a partnership with Internet telephony company Skype, which is owned by online marketplace EBay Inc.

According to the newspaper, Skype was in negotiations with Chinese telecoms to offer its paid computer-to-landline service called SkypeOut.

A Skype spokeswoman declined comment on how the ban would affect the company's plans.

China was apparently concerned that cheaper phone service offered by Skype and other Internet telephony companies would undercut the businesses of local landline and wireless services, the Financial Times said. Tom Online had planned to launch SkypeOut commercially.