O2 and Orange May Refuse to Carry Nokia Skype Handsets—Report
U.K. mobile operators Telefonica's O2 and France Telecom's Orange are reportedly "furious" about Nokia's plans to embed Skype on some new handsets, and may refuse to carry them unless the application is removed, according to reports on the Mobile Today website. The website reports that the operators, fearing the loss of valuable voice revenue to the VoIP application—which allows users to make free calls via the Internet—may refuse to stock the N97 smartphone, instead opting for Nokia models that do not include Skype as standard.
Significance: The report follows Nokia's announcement that Skype applications would be pre-loaded onto all its high-end N-series phones this year, starting with the N-97. European operators have traditionally opposed VoIP applications on mobile handsets, and even blocked the downloading or the use of services such as Skype on their networks. However, the Mobile Today report claims that T-Mobile appears to be supporting the offer, while Hutchison's 3 already offers a phone with an embedded Skype client, following trials which have shown a 20% rise in revenues from 3 consumers using its Skype phones elsewhere, as data use and handset reliability increase. Nokia will not confirm whether any operators have complained about the Skype feature, but a spokesman admitted that the Skype feature is unlikely to be included on all N-97 phones.