Both Barrels Communications

April 23, 2007 08:29 ET

Removal of VoIP functionality threatens mobile net neutrality, says Truphone

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(CCNMatthews - April 23, 2007) - The removal by two of the UK's mobile network operators of VoIP functionality from Nokia's flagship handset, the Nokia N95, constitutes a major threat to mobile net neutrality that should concern all mobile phone users, says Truphone.

News of the VoIP disablement broke last week when it was discovered that 'branded' Nokia N95 handsets acquired on contract from Vodafone and Orange had the Internet Telephony menu option removed. Altered like this, these handsets cannot be used to make mobile VoIP calls, although the standard, unmodified version of the phone has the capability.

Beyond inconveniencing the owners of these modified handsets, Truphone says that the broader issue is mobile net neutrality. Net neutrality has been critical to innovation on the web to date. In particular, the way people shop, learn, communicate and work would be very different if Internet access wasn't neutral.

Net neutrality means that - for example - broadband providers do not lock customers into specific products, services or content controlled by that provider. It's because of net neutrality that businesses such as Ebay, MySpace, or Amazon have thrived when, if their exposure had been confined to small uncompetitive 'walled gardens', available only to a proportion of Internet users, they may never have achieved their global popularity and current success.

"Preventing consumer choice is protectionism in disguise - it's subsidy abuse. We're at the dawn of the mobile internet era and consumers should get an open playing field and not a walled garden," said James Tagg, Truphone's CEO. "If the mobile network operators start blocking services they don't like there will be no incentive for anyone to innovate. You may own the handset, but they'll own you," he added.


About Truphone

In mid-2006, Truphone was first to introduce true internet telephony (VoIP) for mass market mobile phones, enabling free and low-cost calls via Wi-Fi and the Internet. In December 2006 Truphone was selected as a 'Technology Pioneer for 2007' by the World Economic Forum and, at the end of 2006, received the biggest Series-A venture capital investment of the year for a European technology company. In March 2007 the company was listed in the Red Herring 100 Europe, which recognises Europe's 100 most promising companies driving the future of technology. For more information visit and

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