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T-Mobile UK confirms VoIP ban

But it may change its mind on IM

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T-Mobile UK believes VoIP isn't sufficiently consistent or capable of providing calls of a high enough quality calls to be allowed into its mobile phone network, the carrier said to day in response to revelations it has effectively banned the technology from its latest data-oriented airtime package.

However, the company did say it is considering allowing the use of instant messaging on its network "later in the year". For now, though, IM is likewise off-limits to the company's customers.

Earlier this week, Reg Hardware revealed that the terms and conditions underpinning T-Mobile UK's Web 'n' Walk Professional airtime package, which focuses on GPRS and 3G data connectivity, makes it clear VoIP and IM are not to be used.

"Use of Voice over Internet Protocol and Messaging over Internet Protocol [over the service] is prohibited by T-Mobile," the Ts&Cs read. "If use of either or both of these services is detected, T-Mobile may terminate all contracts with the customer and disconnect any SIM cards and/or Web ‘n’ Walk cards from the T-Mobile network."

We asked T-Mobile to comment on the policy. It said: "Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in a wireless environment is an emerging technology. In our view, the technology is not yet of a consistent or high enough level of quality to offer a good customer experience on the T-Mobile network. This situation may change in the future, but for now we believe it is in the best interests of our customers to restrict the use of VoIP technology. We are also looking to provide an Instant Messaging (IM) solution for our customers later in the year."

Will T-Mobile's attitude relax when it enables its HSDPA 3G network? That technology will "allow customers to experience speeds of up to six times faster than current 3G speeds", the carrier told us. Its recently launched Web 'n' Walk Pro Data Card is "mobile broadband ready", according to T-Mobile, suggesting that while the 3G card isn't broadband now, it will be when HSDPA becomes available.

Hopefully, the big bandwidth boost will allow customers to use Skype as quite a few of them, if Reg Hardware readers are anything to by, want to do. ®

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