Speakers’ Corner: Mobile VoIP

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T-Mobile Germany has banned Skype completely and O2 has restricted Skype to WiFi.

In response, the Voice On the Net coalition has issued a plea to the European Union to stop mobile operators from blocking access to VoIP services over mobile networks. Surely there is a way for operators to turn the perceived threat of mobile VoIP into a growth opportunity.

Mobile VoIP isn’t a service that appeals just to consumers – the business benefits are more and more obvious. Especially in today’s economic climate when businesses are looking to cut communication costs.

For consumers and businesses alike, the rise of various VoIP applications and services has been welcomed with open arms. Conversely, there is still fear from operators that mobile VoIP could undermine data and voice plans just as it did with landline services a few years ago.

Although many operators are worried mobile VoIP may threaten their revenue streams, there are ways for them to stay competitive and still achieve sustainable ARPU.

There exists a fear about control. With the rise of third party services, VoIP included, operators may soon lose the “control” they have traditionally had over the industry.

The OEM powers of Nokia and Apple are already staking claims in the mobile application market. Operators do not “own” as much as they used to. There’s also the fear the increase in calls made over VoIP will result in a loss in revenue for operators as people move away from voice calls to make calls over data.

Surely by offering customers data-heavy plans rather than voice, operators can still look to maximise revenue?

Full article in Mobile News issue 437 (April 21, 2009).

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