Mobile Network Tipping Point

Scott Dobson, Managing Director of Newbury based distributor VComm sees the recent move by 3 to allow Skype users on their network to make and receive calls between each other free of charge as being significant.

“On the face of it, this may not seem to be a big thing but if you consider that they are one of the big five mobile players in the UK (the others being Vodafone, O2, Orange & T-Mobile) they are laying a stake in the ground which will have ramifications across the mobile operator space moving forward.

One fact that many may not aware of is that 3 don’t actually have a voice network in the traditional sense of the word. They provide a HSDPA (3G) based network infrastructure for their customers and offload any voice traffic to one or a number of the other players noted above.

So, what 3 is effectively saying to its clients and the operators it partners with is ‘We don’t control the voice traffic or make much revenue from it so, what the heck, use our network how you like..’

All of the operators have been actively blocking VoIP across their networks for years as it take bread directly off their table. Perhaps this move will push them all to let their customers use their services how they see fit.

A good contact of mine in the know said he’d heard a senior Vodafone executive state that there will be a tipping point where subscriptions and profits move from voice to data. As soon as this happens, the mobile landscape will change from a voice dominated world to a data dominated one. Anyone remember ISDN ?…”

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