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June 15, 2007

T-Mobile UK Says No To Truphone

by Darla

Recently, Truphone released its sneak peak of the new version 3.0.   But this isn't such a good thing for T-Mobile UK users.

Something disturbing is happening between Truphone and T-Mobile UK.  Apparently T-Mobile is saying "no" to allowing its customers to reach Truphone numbers in an attempt to kill off cheap mobile phone calls with a so called "T-Mobile policy decision" that denies access.  This leaves T-Mobile isolated among mobile operators in the UK as they are not allowing calls to reach Truphone numbers.

Here are the facts:

  • T-Mobile has refused to interconnect with mobile VoIP provider Truphone: T-Mobile customers making a call to Truphone's number range (07978 8xxxxx) will not be connected.
  • T-Mobile refuses to interconnect with operators offering VoIP as a matter of policy.
  • However T-Online Ventures, the venture capital arm of T-Mobile's parent company Deutsche Telekom, has just invested in VoIP provider Jajah; T-Mobile connects with BT Fusion, a VoIP service; and T-Mobile has also announced a trial of a VoIP service in USA and Germany.
  • T-Mobile is required to 'make calls or otherwise transmit electronic communications to every normal telephone number', which it has refused to do in the case of Truphone and other VoIP operators.
  • The other four UK major mobile network operators - 3, O2, Orange and Vodafone - all interconnect with Truphone, leaving T-Mobile isolated on this issue.
  • T-Mobile's current adverts display the slogan "Setting the internet free".
  • Currently a 'beta' service, Truphone's is prevented from launching fully until the 07978 8xxxxx number range is fully interconnected. Beta service customers are presently unaffected by this issue.
  • Other mobile operators have employed different methods to prevent VoIP uptake. There has already been the well-publicized removal of internet telephony functionality from Nokia's popular N95 handset by Vodafone and Orange, and new data tariffs published by Vodafone that mean customers using VoIP will be charged more than for web browsing or email.

In a written statement, Truphone's CEO, James Tagg had this to say:

"If I were a shareholder I'd be asking some tough questions about whether T-Mobile is prepared for the internet age. It looks like a company in chaos with no coherent strategy for VoIP: it is both resisting VoIP and buying it, and at the same time running ads saying it sets the internet free. Maybe the left hand simply doesn't know what the right hand is doing."   

"T-Mobile's move is the most aggressive act but it isn't alone in trying to find ways to slow down mobile VoIP. Vodafone and Orange tested one way by removing internet telephony from their branded Nokia N95 handsets without telling their customers, and Vodafone is planning to charge more for VoIP traffic than for web traffic on its new mobile web service."

"T-Mobile will argue that it is not 'blocking' Truphone but is merely negotiating on price. T-Mobile receives 35p per minute from its customers but is offering only 0.21p per minute to Truphone even when Truphone's costs are 9p per minute to terminate the call."

Looks like even outside of the US the providers have the upper hand.

[via: VoIP Watch, GigaOM]      

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Comments

Bazza

Doesn't this just affect using Truphone via the gsm/3g network? In which case i suggest you just use wifi for all your Truphone calls. Afterall they dont own that.

Charles

So you've checked for yourself all those "facts" at the top - they're not just coming verbatim from a press release, and you're not just the flat expanse for an astroturfing campaign for Truphone? Inquiring minds want to know.

Ben Whitaker

What would be the appropriate governmental body to contact to force T-Mobile into compliance? email addresses?

This is loathsome Luddite conduct by T-Mobile - vote with your feet first people, class-action suits later.

I'm sure most readers of this site are significant influencers of telecom purchases - just to steer your flocks clear of trash like T-Mobile.

Once you have had your SIP-piphany and tasted the future, you'll be counting the days to signing your last check for GSM service ever.

It's sad that a greedy "technology" company like T-Mobile feels the smartest way to serve customers is to to block access to new technologies.

There's not much they or any other carrier can do about it long term; SIP will crush GSM at an ever-accelerating rate despite any blocking efforts.

Our $350 VoIP enabled phones will be $50 secondhand phones in a few years. The software will have advanced in that time as well.

It's a tsunami and there's nothing these incumbent carriers can do to stop it. Pathetic to watch them try.

In the meantime enforce the *harshest possible sanctions on this criminal conduct by T-Mobile.*

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