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Truphone thinking of striking back

Posted by tggokul on May 3, 2007

As most you would be aware, Vodafone and Orange have disabled VoIP functionality in their N95 handsets in an attempt to protect their precious minutes. (In a related story, check out the post on VoIP Providers missing the point). Looks like Truphone has decided to fight back.

According to this report, they are planning to bring a lawsuit against the above mentioned operators.  This report includes the statement issued by Truphone

The move by Orange and Vodafone is tantamount to blocking its service and also suggested that it was a “threat to mobile net neutrality” – the concept that all network operators, wireless or otherwise, should be prohibited from blocking or degrading web-based services, including VoIP, or denying access to websites on their networks.

“The removal by two of the UK’s mobile network operators of VoIP functionality from Nokia’s flagship handset, the Nokia N95, constitutes a major threat to mobile net neutrality that should concern all mobile phone users,” the company said in the statement. “Net neutrality (NewsAlert) has been critical to innovation on the web to date. In particular, the way people shop, learn, communicate and work would be very different if Internet access wasn’t neutral.”

“Net neutrality means that – for example – broadband providers do not lock customers into specific products, services or content controlled by that provider,” the statement reads. “It’s because of net neutrality that businesses such as Ebay, MySpace, or Amazon have thrived when, if their exposure had been confined to small uncompetitive ‘walled gardens,’ available only to a proportion of Internet users, they may never have achieved their global popularity and current success.”

Now the question really is, do the mobile carriers “own” the network they run? If so, they are legally entitled to block Truphone kind of services. But think about this, if Microsoft tomorrow goes and says it will disallow Firefox to run on Windows because it “owns” the OS, what would the anti-trust lobby do? Isn’t this the same? Aren’t they killing competition unfairly? What do you think?

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2 Responses to “Truphone thinking of striking back”

  1. Bill Levison said

    Of course the network operators own their networks.

    All that Vodafone and Orange have said is that they do not wish to offer their own VOIP service ( possibly for support reasons ). They are therefore not selling the N95 with the Nokia VOIP stack. They are permitting their customers to select their own VOIP service providers. I use WiFiMobile on my N95 without problems.

  2. All of this might be a storm in a teacup in the end. As Bill says he can use Wi-Fi Mobile on his N95. The Internet always has a barbed strike at the end of its tail. Individual companies who do not offer particular services always end up second best to a company that embraces change.

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