August 25, 2008
Rumor: Nokia Removing VoIP Functionality from Some Phones
Despite some reports about rising adoption of Voice over Internet Protocol in U.S. homes and businesses, a Finnish mobile device-making giant reportedly is rolling out new versions of phones, but without VoIP compatibility.
According to a post by Om Malik on gigaom.com over the weekend, Nokia (News - Alert) is no longer including VoIP functionality on handsets such as the new N78 – a loss for consumers, the blogger says, who could avoid paying exorbitant long-distance fees with the Internet-based technology.
“Many of these new phones are not on the list of Nokia’s VoIP compatible handsets,” Malik writes. “It is not clear how the older phones are going to be impacted. A reader tipped us off about this apparent change in the latest N-series phones.”
A message seeking comment from Nokia was not immediately returned.
If the rumors Malik heard are true, it isn’t clear what criteria Nokia used to make its decision, especially in light of recent reports about the annual growth rate of VoIP, such as one from IBISWorld.
According to an IBISWorld study cited by telappliant.com, rising subscriptions are expected to drive VoIP’s annual growth in the United States this year to 24 percent.
“Much of this growth will be driven by rising subscriptions, with 16.6 million people expected to sign up to a VoIP service this year,” the Web site reports. “This represents a 21.2 per cent rise in subscribers from 2007. The number of businesses choosing VoIP technology for their telephony will also rise – by 44.5 per cent to 2,190 establishments nationwide. IBISWorld senior analyst George von Horn said by 2012, revenue from the VoIP market is expected to grow 90.2 per cent to top $4.88 billion.”
According to Malik, Nokia’s decision already is having a rippling affect on phone-makers and service providers.
A spokesperson from Truphone (News - Alert) reportedly told Malik, “From Truphone’s perspective Nokia has removed the VoIP client from all the N-series phones for the planned future. We are putting in a replacement client functionality so that existing customers are not orphaned.”
According to Malik, Nokia is not removing VoIP functionality from its E-series devices.
“Since VoWLAN is more popular with the corporations, Nokia can’t afford to remove the VoIP functionality,” Malik says. “It is one feature that makes the phones more competitive with say Blackberry.”
According to Malik, carriers criticized Nokia for making VoIP easy on its phones. If the company is caving in to those carriers, Malik says, the removal of VoIP from some N-series phones may represent a stutter in the company’s stated efforts to become more open source-friendly.
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is The Compelling ROI Benefits of Contact Center Quality and Performance Management Technologies, brought to you by Voice Print International (News - Alert).
Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael�s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan