I recently wrote about Nokia backing away from VoIP on some of their N-Series phones, in particular noting that carriers had never viewed the addition of the functionality too kindly. Nokia is now responding on its blog, saying that no, it isn’t backing away from VoIP. The company also not only denies that it’s under carrier pressure, but goes so far as to say that I failed to “qualify” such a theory.
In my defense, I have been covering the mobile industry for a long time, and have multiple sources at numerous carriers who have privately shared their disdain for mobile VoIP functionality. There are many incidents of carrier arm-twisting when it comes to mobile VoIP in countries such as the United Kingdom.This is not just a Nokia issue; most handset makers face the same pressures.
And as 3G becomes commonplace, mobile VoIP is turning into an even bigger problem for carriers. According to some estimates you can make a 15-minute VoIP call over 3G and consume about 1 megabyte of data, which means that even with 5 GB caps you can keep yakking all day (and all night) long and still not breach your data limit.
Secondly, Nokia had ample time to respond to my questions and all they offered was a canned response, which I included in the story. And that was after waiting for more than 48 hours. But then it is August, and many (all?) people were on vacation.
Since the story was first published, several people have come to Nokia’s defense, including some of the companies whose products were impacted. Many have reached out to me as well, and I have continued to do my own reporting for a story that will include a proper response to what I think is the bigger issue.
As for what that bigger issue is, Markus Göbel offers up teaser on his blog:
But Nokia’s new Symbian release, S60 3.2, is no option for me – as long as it has no own SIP client. It’s obvious why companies like Fring, Truphone, Gizmo5, Vyke and others are applauding the Nokia move. It ties their customer to them and makes it more difficult to use other companies’ offers. With a native SIP client, which allows to be connected to several different SIP services at the same time, I can be promiscuous. Even the most disruptive mobile VoIP companies prefer to lock me in their walled garden, but I don’t want that.
8 thoughts on “Nokia Clarifies Its Future N-Series VoIP Plans”
Om, as I said on my own post:
some of the mobile carriers actually USE the SIP functionality in the Nokia handsets. Kodiak Push-to-talk anyone?
if the carriers do not like VOIP they should fight back? how? cheap unlimited voice calling over their superior circuit switched channel. and rock bottom priced international rates. than no one would even think about VOIP.
Isn’t this an open approach on an open platform? Are Nokia expected to make a native application for every intended use of the handset? After all they have included a SIP stack so there is no reason that a developer can’t produce SIP client which would allow (in Markus words) folk to be as promiscuous with different SIP services as they like. This comes down to the simple issue that Nokia are not giving out a free Voip front end any more on some of there handsets so we will end up having to pay for one? I guess then at least there will be some support.
Carriers are looking for incremental value to their business model (either revenue improvement or cost savings). To date, beyond just techy speak of voip to voip calls, gadget lust, minisule international wireless voice traffic compared to domestic traffic, a clear and compelling value prop to the carriers has not been painted in real economic opportunity.
So, it’s no wonder why the carriers aren’t rushing to adopt it (you wouldn’t either if it was your money). That’s why voip is a low priority and cool devices, 4G are the priorities.
Now, some carriers aren’t closed mined though; some carriers are searching for the opportunity that might lead to VoIP.
Nokia leaves us Asterisk users and VoIP tinkerers in the cold. We cannot develop our own Symbian clients. A very convincing comment on Phoneboy’s blog also says:
Any third party application will have hard time to match the comfort of integrated symbian UI, where normal and internet calls are integrated together and one push of a button decides which one to make.
That’s the point! I have elaborated it more on my today’s blog post:
Markus Göbel’s Tech News Comments: Nokia leaves Asterisk users in the cold
this is bs. i have an n85 ie fp2 phone and sip is integrated and works fine.. is recently used gizmo to call home overwifi for 3.9c per minute while skiing in canada..