updated 9/12/2005 8:47:25 AM ET 2005-09-12T12:47:25

China Telecom, the nation's largest fixed-line operator, is looking at ways to block phone calls made over the Internet such as the popular service offered by Skype, according to media reports.

Skype Technologies SA's free software lets people talk for free over the Internet using computers and microphones.  It can also be used to call land lines for a fee.

Such services threaten the business of fixed-line phone operators.

China Telecom wants to prevent users in China from logging on to Skype's server, the newspaper Beijing Business Today reported on its Web site.

It is also trying to monitor and control online data volume, so if someone is making a phone call over a China Telecom broadband connection it will be disconnected, the report said.

China Telecom expects these controls will be ready in 2006 or 2007, it added.

An operator at Shenzhen Telecom — a branch of China Telecom in the southern city of Shenzhen — said Saturday that downloading software for voice over Internet calls is not allowed by Shenzhen Telecom.  She refused to give her name.

Operators at Beijing Telecom and Shanghai Telecom — other China Telecom branches — said they had heard of no such restrictions.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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