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TeliaSonera Abandons VoIP Charge

Michelle Donegan
Wireless Bits
Michelle Donegan

10:20 AM -- Telia Company has scrapped plans to charge for third-party VoIP services on its mobile broadband network.

This policy about-face was revealed when the Swedish operator announced on Monday that it would allow mobile IP telephony services on all of its tariffs, except for one new package that is for users who don't use mobile data.

Earlier this year, TeliaSonera executives were adamant that if customers wanted to use free over-the-top (OTT) voice or messaging services from third parties -- like Skype Ltd. or WhatsApp -- then, they would have to pay an extra fee or those services would not work. The scheme was piloted at TeliaSonera's Spanish subsidiary Yoigo . (See TeliaSonera Chokes Free VoIP Services , The Two Faces of OTT and TeliaSonera: No Free VoIP on Our 4G.)

While TeliaSonera should be applauded for opting for a strategy that's less likely to lose customers and alienate people, there's a catch in yesterday's announcement: TeliaSonera won't charge specifically for mobile VoIP services, but instead it has introduced price increases for new mobile data subscribers. (See How to Lose Customers & Alienate People.)

We don't have all the details of the price increases, but an example is the following: for mobile data add-on tariffs, the maximum fee charged will go up from 9 Swedish kronor (US$1.37) per day to SEK 19 ($2.90) per day while the data allowance will be increased from 0.5MB to 2MB.

But now that TeliaSonera has backed away from a hostile position toward OTT services -- a stance that suggested the operator was prepared to throttle or block these services -- I wonder if it feels so warm and fuzzy toward those third-party providers that it will provide quality of service (QoS) for their VoIP apps. Or will good QoS be reserved only for its own 4G voice or messaging services, when they actually launch? (See Officials Say Europe's Telcos Block VoIP.)

Since TeliaSonera has decided not to put the brakes on OTT VoIP providers, it should now focus on making sure customers who do use those voice or messaging services have a good experience on its network.

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— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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12/5/2012 | 5:20:31 PM
re: TeliaSonera Abandons VoIP Charge

It's the way that carriers will get back what they think of as lost voice revenues.

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