UK cell providers ask Nokia to pull Skype from phones

By Justin Mann on February 27, 2009, 1:53 PM
VoIP technologies are becoming bigger and better every year. As they have improved, they have also transitioned from being solely on the PC to showing up on more portable devices, such as netbooks and lately even cell phones. This, however, has some service providers upset. Specifically Orange and O2, both operating in the UK, are reportedly threatening Nokia over the decision to include a Skype client on their N97 handset.

Essentially, Orange and O2 are convinced that offering a Skype client on a phone leaves an avenue for customers to pay less to their cell providers, which they see as hitting their bottom line. As a result, it seems they are threatening to refuse to carry the N97 on their networks unless Nokia agrees to pull the application. A bit late, you'd think, given the current state of the market. If they do get their way, however, it'll really only be the user who is hurt with a phone artificially deprived of functionality due to a carrier's whims.

Internet connectivity will only increase, and VoiP technologies will be more heavily adopted as a result. Though it's rare now, we may eventually see a large market of cell phones used for VoiP exclusively, cutting out a cell provider altogether. Orange and O2 are definitely working backwards here, and it would be better for them to try and adapt, perhaps even offering VoiP services themselves rather than trying to impose their will on manufacturers and consumers.

User Comments: 4

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tengeta said:
How sad that they actually came out and said this...You know what? I must be wrong, heres all my money. I don't have any need for it in comparison to a British Phone Company, you poor bastards must be starving or something.
michele31415 said:
I think the handwriting is on this wall. Cellular service as we know it today will eventually be subsumed by universal WiFi. If I was Verizon, ATT, et al, I'd be preparing an exit strategy. Maybe not this year or next, but eventually.
pmshah said:
Here in India we have available practically every cell phone model in the world. Other than the CDMA phones not a single phone is tied to the service provider.Actually I can take any model of CDMA instrument to the service provider and they will program it to work on their network.The best part is we have the lowest rate telephone available any where in the world. As an example it costs me only US$ 5.60 per year to get full year of incoming calls plus US$ 5/= worth of outgoing talk time !!!!
MGB said:
This isn't really anything new - in 2007, Vodafone and Orange launched branded versions of the Nokia N95 that had VoIP hidden or disabled. [url][/url]
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