Nokia riles operators with its plans to introduce Skype onto Nseries handsets

Nokia riles operators with its plans to introduce Skype onto Nseries handsets

A rift has emerged between Nokia and operators over its plans to incorporate Skype onto its Nseries handsets, Mobile has learned.

O2 and Orange responded furiously to Nokia’s declaration that it will equip its upcoming flagship Nseries device, the N97, with Skype.

If the row is not resolved the two operators may refuse to stock the N97 – or any future Nseries handsets containing Skype – unless Nokia strips out the Skype client. The two operators are understood to have vented their anger in high-level discussions, which involved group level executives from Nokia.

The row centres around  ownership of the customer, as well as potential lost revenue from calls from Skype’s internet call service.

One operator source told Mobile: ‘This is another example of them trying to build an ecosystem that is all about Nokia and reduces the operator to a dumb pipe. Some people like 3 may be in a position where it could make sense to accept that. But if you spend upwards of £40m per year building your brand, you don’t want to be just a dumb pipe do you?

‘Nokia have tried several ways to own the customer over the years and operators have had to say no.’

The Skype plans appear to have created a split between operators, with T-Mobile offering its support for the scheme. 3 has also stocked a handset with a Skype client.

Strategy Analytics associate director, Neil Mawston, said: ‘If you are going to route a lot of voice traffic, it means a loss of revenue. Some operators won’t be happy with it.’

Another senior industry source defended Nokia’s position: ‘If you look at
what 3 has done – chargeable calls on Skype phones is bigger than those without it.’

A spokeswoman for O2 said: ‘We are currently working with Nokia to understand their Skype service and the business model around it. We continually evaluate new applications and mobile services for our customer base.’

Vodafone and Orange declined to comment.

Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today


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