Friday, April 20, 2007

Why Truphone is weeping so much over the crippled Nokia N95

At Truphone they are still howling about the crippled Nokia N95 that Vodafone and Orange are selling in the UK.

They claim that the move is an attempt by mobile operators to stop open competition for mobile internet services and to lock customers into their services. But at the same time we learn that stand-alone VoIP applications, such as Fring, still work on the N95.

And maybe that is the real reason for their weeping.

Truphone itself is a closed system. And for that reason it is the world's only SIP based VoIP provider that doesn't work with Fring. Other providers can circumvent the N95 problem by recommending their clients to use Fring.

But Truphone works only on Nokia cell phones and the only way for installation is the Truphone wizard program. It saves all the necessary login data for Truphone automatically on your phone, which on the first sight seems very comfortable. But later, when you want to review the SIP settings, you realize that you can't see your password for Truphone's proxy and registrar server. Instead you see only ****.

This was once a clever move to prevent that people install Truphone on other devices, such as ATAs or softphones. Truphone lives in a large parts from the fees that people have to pay when they aren't in a Wi-Fi network. In this case many users get their incoming calls forwarded over the traditional mobile network to their cell phone number, which costs. Furthermore the Truphone numbers in the UK are special mobile phone numbers. To call them is quite pricey and Truphone takes its share from the incoming calls. (I already found a workaround for that.)

By trying to save these competitive advantages over the other VoIP providers Truphone shot itself in the foot. Now they are the only company whose VoIP service doesn't run on the coolest Nokia phone ever.

And that in their home country UK.

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