Om Malik has asked "Is Nokia Turning Its Back on MobileVoIP?", pinpointing to the fact that the new Nseries devices N78 and N96 lack an own SIP client, while Nokia before embraced mobile VoIP on it's Nseries and Eseries devices. Charlie Schick of Nokia Conversations says the report of the death of VoIP has been "grossly exaggerated" and people like Phoneboy, Gizmo5's Michael Robertson or the company Truphone are buying that argumentation, although it has its flaws. Truphone, Gizmo5 and Fring must have realized immediately that they are winning from Nokia's move. That's why they are holding back their horses.
Nokia says that it's no problem that they have removed the native SIP client from their latest handsets, since companies can develop their own VoIP software based on great APIs. But it's not as easy as Nokia is trying to say: There are hundreds or thousands of companies without an own software for mobile VoIP. They just rely on the SIP standard. In Germany it's GMX, 1&1, Sipgate and the several Betamax daughters. Together they have millions of customers, I am one of them. These people cannot use VoIP on the new Nokia phones. I have always ten or more VoIP providers installed on my Nokia E61i's SIP client. This way I can always use the cheapest route and leverage free on net calls.
It would be nasty if had to install ten or more pieces of software for that purpose. It's already annoying that Truphone requires a special software because they don't give me my SIP password. That's a perversion of the idea of standards. If I need a special software for every company's offer why is there a standard called SIP?
So as a VoIP tinkerer I have to stay with the older Nokia devices, or at most I can change to the E71. But Nokia's new Symbian release, S60 3.2, is no option for me - as long as it has no own SIP client. It's obvious why companies like Fring, Truphone, Gizmo5, Vyke and others are applauding the Nokia move. It ties their customer to them and makes it more difficult to use other companies' offers. With a native SIP client, which allows to be connected to several different SIP services at the same time, I can be promiscuous. Even the most disruptive mobile VoIP companies prefer to lock me in their walled garden, but I don't want that.
I still believe that pressure from mobile operators has caused this move of Nokia. HSDPA and HSUPA have brought great bandwith to the latest handsets, enough to use it for Voice over 3G. With the right voice codec you can talk about 15 minutes and use only 1 Megabyte of data. Filtering for VoIP packets slows down the mobile data networks and therefore it's not very common. If you combine that with the right VoIP provider, like Betamax, this means free mobile phone calls to more than 30 countries. Only data prices apply.