Friday, April 13, 2007

Crippling the Nokia N95 might be the right move

The Truphone blog tells that some UK clients of the company reported a strange behaviour of their brand new Nokia N95. The devices they've bought under contract from their carriers appear to have internet telephony disabled. This means they cannot use Truphone as they'd hoped.

Too bad, but understandable as VoIP experts Jeff Pulver and Andy Abramson comment. Especially Jeff puts himself very much in the shoes of the mobile carriers:
Given the reality of how much money Nokia makes on an annual basis from companies like Orange UK and Vodaphone UK, if I worked at Nokia and had the sales responsibility for say the Vodaphone account, I would do whatever my customer asked of me to keep and protect their business.
It's strange to see how the VoIP community criticizes and approves the crippling of the N95 at the same. I feel so schizophrenic too. As a hard core VoIP user I refuse to block VoIP on mobile phones. But as a rational person I understand that the mobile carriers have to be afraid of it. I am the best example.

I just love to use Wifi telephony on my new Nokia E61. I use three different SIP telephony providers at the same time. Two of them ring on my mobile phone and my desk phone at the same time when a call enters. Only Truphone doesn’t do this because it works only on mobile phones.

It’s really easy to enter the data for the SIP connection into the E61. In fact I use about 20 different SIP providers on my mobile phone: Pulver, Gizmo,, and the like are all tied to my Voxalot account. I wrote about this before.
Markus Göbel's Tech News Comments:
Why I use about 20 different VoIP providers
You can dial 20 different numbers or SIP addresses and they all ring on my mobile phone. Great!

I even tried VoIP on GPRS because I have really cheap data prices. It works, only the delay is horrible. But if my carrier provided 3G I would surely use it for VoIP. With HSDPA and VoIP the sound would be crystal clear. Look at cities like London! They will have spotless Wifi coverage soon. No need for using the mobile carrier anymore. Instead my prefered no frills VoiP operator gives me unlimited calls to 40 countries for the price of about 4 dollars a month. This includes my own country, what's of course the most important.

"Free calls" like in "free beer" are the VoIP killer app to me. When I see my low costs for calls from my mobile and my desk phone I understand the suffering of the incumbents and the mobile carriers.

But maybe that's just the payback for the former years' rip off.


  1. Hey, cut Nokia some slack. As a expat in Singapore, I'm using the Nokia N95 with mio Mobile, SingTel's VoIP service. Works like charm. Like Orange and Vodafone, SingTel subsidise the N95, but they didn't feel the urge to cripple the phone.

    Pete Basinger

  2. Some carriers could gain more revenue out of data block purchases and in some cases, the total customer spend will be greater.

    Take for example when a company requires a minimum phone spend, then charges for a data block (or worse... expensive rates for data without a block purchase).

    Of course the consumer has to weigh up the total cost and the ancillary benefits of having extras like data capable services.

    Do I feel sorry for mobile carriers? No way!

    Do I feel sorry for PSTN real monopolies? Definitely not!

    Both mobile and traditional land line carriers have been ripping us off for years. So it's about time we got some "payback", if that is the right word.

    Never buy a phone that isn't able to carry out all the functions that the manufacturer intended unless you are sure that the additional features are not going to suit your own requirements.


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