Mobile industry group leaps into VoIP debate
Industry body calls for customer awareness
The Open Mobile Terminal Platform , a mobile-phone industry body which counts Orange, Vodafone, T-Mobile and 3 amongst its membership, has published guidance for network operators and handset manufacturers on provisioning and maintaining VoIP settings on new handsets.
The document only covers VoIP clients pre-installed on handsets, such as that used by Truphone, as opposed to applications which are downloaded later, such as Fring or Vyke.
According to the OMTP specifications, operators are entitled to remove or lock down VoIP applications on subsidised handsets, but they must provide the ability to remove that lock when the contract period expires, just as they now will release a handset to be used on another network (the SIM lock).
It must also be clear to users that the capability has been locked. So the removal of menu items, in the way that Vodafone and Orange crippled their N95 variants, wouldn't be allowed. Users selecting a locked option should he informed that the operator has disabled the function.
The document specifies around 15 functional requirements, though members aren't bound to conform to all, or indeed any, of them. But as so many network operators were involved in writing the thing, it's hoped they'll pay more than a passing interest.
The specification is available, in its entirety, from the OMTP site.
A price-fixing cartel
If the mobile operators overpaid for licensing fees, that is their problem, not the consumers'. If a business invests in a technology that becomes obsolete before they can recoup their investment, they have no right to protectionist exclusion of competition, which is exactly what the mobile operators are seeking against voip companies. This is just a price-fixing cartel, which should be dismantled immediately.
Why are they money grabbing b@!#tards or acting illegally. The mobile networks were never built under granted government monopolies. The Mobile Network Operators have spent billions on licencing fees to the government for spectrum and invested billions in THEIR networks. However, if MNOs start to work together in protectionism (ie. not working competitively) then I believe there is an issue.
Surely this is illegal?
And how are the likes of TruPhone supposed to make an honest living? This is a Cartel-like conspiracy by the mobile network operators against their perceived competition from VoIP providers. Surely this flies in the face of EU anti-competition legislation. Surely there can be no other business that could so blatantly put the squeeze on its competition like this.
I, for one, would like to see an alliance of VoIP operators challenge this practice of crippling the VoIP client on handsets in the EU courts.