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UPDATE: FCC Vote Delayed on Skype Bid for Open Networks

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WASHINGTON (Dow Jones) The Federal Communications Commission delayed a vote scheduled for Thursday that would have denied a petition from Ebay's Skype to open up cellular networks.

Skype requested earlier in the year that cellphone carriers be required to open up their networks so its Internet phone service application can run on all handsets.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has said that such a regulation is premature because the wireless industry is making moves toward more open networks on its own.

Martin said the denial of Skype's bid was delayed because he does not yet have support from enough commissioners on the five-member body to finalize it. "I want to make sure this is something the majority of the commission does support," he said. "There weren't three people supporting it."

Martin said Skype's request has revived last year's debate among the commissioners when the FCC imposed open network conditions on a block of airwaves during an auction. "That was a contentions issue among the commissioners, and I think that the Skype petition has brought back up some of those same debates," he said.

Martin said his position opposing Skype's request hasn't changed. "I didn't think it now was the right time to be adopting requirements that would be retroactive that would apply across the board to all the different industries," he said.

FCC's response to the Skype petition is still on circulation among the five-member commission.

Verizon Wireless recently said it would open its network to any device or program. Sprint Nextel and Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA are participating in the Open Handset Alliance. AT&T posted its style guide to developing programs on its Web site.

-By Fawn Johnson, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-9263; fawn.johnson@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

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