Vodafone Germany spokesman Heiko Witzke said Wednesday that in the interim the company may reverse its policy, which came to light earlier in the week when it filed a tariff with German telephone regulators.
He wouldn't comment about why the company was taking the step, but said in an interview that "2007 is a long ways to go; anything may happen until then."
Vodafone's other 15 divisions serving nations in Europe and Asia have not enacted such a policy, according to a spokesman at Vodafone's U.K. headquarters.
The development is a sign that some cell phone operators are beginning to feel threatened by, just as soaring Net phone subscriber numbers start to significantly impact revenues of traditional landline operators.
So-called voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services are viewed as a threat to all forms of telephony because the software, usually available for free, lets people make free phones calls between Internet-connected devices or reach traditional cell or landline phones at drastically reduced prices.
Landline phone operators, especially in the United States, have already fought VoIP operators in a number of ways, including trying to siphon off their supply of telephone numbers and pushing for state and federal regulation for what is, for now, a lightly regulated industry.
Luxembourg-basedand best known of the new breed of VoIP operators. During a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, co-founder Niklas Zennstrom said he thought Vodafone Germany's decision was a defensive measure.
Cell phone "networks are not really the best for dealing with lots of traffic," Zennstrom said. "That's why cell operators are afraid when there are great applications."