Mobile Giants Curb VoIP Industry: Truphone
| by Priyanka Pradhan |
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) operators are now embroiled in a controversy, following the removal of VoIP capability from Nokia's latest handset, the N95. A UK based start-up, Truphone has now gone public with the allegation that mobile phone giants are out to cripple the VoIP industry.
Truphone, which was launched in September, claims that Vodafone and Orange have released a version of the Nokia N95 mobile phone handset with its VoIP capability disabled and that the company will take the matter to European regulators if it were not resolved. James Tagg, chief executive of Truphone said his customers started complaining about 10 days ago when they realized that they could not use the Truphone VoIP system with their Nokia N95 handsets.
VoIP companies allow customers to download free software on to their mobile phones that will enable them to make cheaper, or in some cases free, phone calls by using a WiFi network. This allows customers to make calls without having to pay their usual network provider, which comes as a severe blow to mobile operators and the handset companies whaich are tied with them.
Tagg said, "Preventing consumer choice is protectionism in disguise - it's subsidy abuse. We're at the dawn of the mobile internet era and consumers should get an open playing field and not a walled garden. If the mobile network operators start blocking services they don't like there will be no incentive for anyone to innovate. You may own the handset, but they'll own you."
However, Orange and Vodafone insist they had not disabled the function as an attack on Truphone or other VoIP providers. A spokesman for Orange said VoIP had been disabled to avoid confusion for customers as it was a new function that had not been properly tested.
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