updated 07:35 pm EST, Fri February 27, 2009
Nokia Skype plans
Nokia's plans to offer Skype on its Nseries handsets has stirred conflict with several cellular carriers. O2 and Orange have reacted negatively to the suggestion of introducing VoIP services on the upcoming N97, according to Mobile. The disagreement could drive the carriers to reject consideration for the device altogether if Nokia does not pull the Skype client.
"If you are going to route a lot of voice traffic, it means a loss of revenue. Some operators won’t be happy with it," said Neil Mawston, associate director of Strategy Analytics. Aside from the potential loss of revenue from directing voice communication across a data connection, the report suggests both sides of the strife could also be fighting for influence over the customers.
"This is another example of them trying to build an ecosystem that is all about Nokia and reduces the operator to a dumb pipe," a source from a carrier said. "Some people like 3 may be in a position where it could make sense to accept that. But if you spend upwards of £40m per year building your brand, you don’t want to be just a dumb pipe do you?"
In the domestic market, companies have differed on their acceptance of VoIP services. Mozilla and Skype recently joined in opposition to Apple's stance on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, relating specifically to the subject of jailbreaking. The EFF submitted an exemption request that would provide protection for companies that work around handset protection measures, although the iPhone-maker argued that the exception would encourage breach of contract and copyright infringement.
Skype submitted its own filing promoting a system where wireless networks support any compatible device and work with devices without limitations on software. According to the lawyers, the approach "ensures that innovation occurs at the edges of the network where hundreds if not thousands of application developers and software manufacturers, rather than a handful of wireless carriers, can compete to meet consumer demand."
Apple currently sits somewhere in the middle, allowing some VoIP applications but only permitting connections via Wi-Fi and not the 3G networks.