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Summary:

The battle between Truphone, a mobile VoIP service provider and T-Mobile UK has turned ugly and is heading to the court. T-Mobile UK is refusing to interconnect with mobile VoIP provider Truphone. Truphone has asked the UK courts for an interim injunction against T-Mobile UK. The […]

The battle between Truphone, a mobile VoIP service provider and T-Mobile UK has turned ugly and is heading to the court. T-Mobile UK is refusing to interconnect with mobile VoIP provider Truphone. Truphone has asked the UK courts for an interim injunction against T-Mobile UK. The case was heard by a judge at the Royal Courts of Justice, London. Some of our commenters let us know that the problems of Truphone might be company specific, for other services seem to connect with T-Mobile UK.

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By Om Malik

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  1. Rajeev Pokkyarath Thursday, July 12, 2007

    I think I’m on T-Mob’s side. I don’t think it’s unfair even if T-Mob decides to block Truphone and other similar services. Yes, as a consumer they are throttling my options, BUT after spending billions in spectrum licenses/infrastructure, why should they allow someone else to piggyback on their network and undercut them? Essentially Truphone is able to give such low rates because they expect carriers to subsidize them?

  2. officedoodles Thursday, July 12, 2007

    I agree with Rajeev. I think they should be allowed to block Truphone. IF they want to piggyback on T-mobily they need to pay some fee.

  3. Bryan Pendleton Thursday, July 12, 2007

    You’re missing the point. They’re not trying to get “free access” to anything. They’re trying to get a reasonable interconnect fee. It’s probably easy to miss, but all the phone services you use to behind-the-scenes settlement. TruPhone’s complaint is that T-Mo will basically not pay them a reasonable rate for call completion, and have basically decided to do so as a punitive policy reacting to TruPhone’s business model.

  4. Astroturfer’s Anonymous Thursday, July 12, 2007

    Are the comments being astroturfed, or are consumers seriously this brainwashed?

    Let’s practice a bit of analogous thinking here: replace T-Mobile with Internet_Service_Provider_duJour, and replace Truphone with Google.

    The story reads like this: ISP blocks Google because customers are visiting Google too often, using too much bandwidth.

    Sound familiar? That’s because it is. Net neutrality part deux – cellular edition.

  5. Agree with Rajeev. Common sense rules.

  6. Well done Truphone at Roam4free Thursday, July 12, 2007

    [...] the issues that Truphone has been having with T-Mobile. In a new development today covered here by Om, Truphone has issued a writ against T-Mobile alleging T-mobile is abusing a dominant position by [...]

  7. What I would like to see from T-mobile and other operators is pricing on SIP calls (both for consumers and VoIP providers like Truphone). Right now they squeal (with a banjo playing in the background a la “Deliverance”) when a VoIP providers comes out, and in the coming battle the one that loses for sure is the consumer. I long for the day where my mobile operator will offer me unlimited SIP calls worldwide (and web as well) for a flat fee. The point that they invested billions in infrastructure doesnt hold much, because as a consumer if I have an unmet need I will move to an alternative such as wifi, skype etc and they will lose me altogether as a source of income.

  8. I think Rajeev and friends are misunderstanding the issue. This has nothing to do with Truphone piggybacking on T-Mobile’s network. This is T-Mobile refuses to connect to a particular range of telephone numbers.

    To quote Om’s original article :”T-Mobile customers making a call to Truphone’s number range (07978 8xxxxx) will not be connected.”

    It’s the same as T-Mobile saying we won’t let our customers call O2 users, or British Telecom users etc.

  9. I think Monty is right on the issue. I just tried it myself. Calling 079788 xxxxx truphone numbers works from all networks (BT, Orange, Vodafone, O2 and every landline provider or mobile provider in the world even T-Mobile in the US is connecting to them). However when I use my T-Mobile in the UK it is not putting me to truphone! It just mentions this number is not in service, which is clearly wrong! How strange. Does it mean every new guy getting a numbers issued in the world needs to talk to a billion carriers to negotiate interconnect. Sounds like the stoneage to me…! No Skype IN would have ever worked in this case for a 1000 years to come…

  10. Where does the concept of “Truphone piggybacking off T-Mobile” come from?

    When a customer of any other mobile network other than T-Mobile places a call to a 079788xxxxx number, the call is routed to Truphone successfully. When a T-Mobile user dials the same number, T-Mobile refuse to route the call and return a ‘number not in service’ message.

    Why cannot T-Mobile just route the call – the user is clearly willing to pay for the call (which should cost the same as a call to any other UK mobile network), so why should T-Mobile be the arbitrator of which calls should be routed?

    Let the calling party (and the one who pays) decide on whether or not the call should be routed. All those who do not believe that it is fair do not have to dial numbers in the Truphone range!

  11. Agree with Rajeev here too… and it seems most consumer understand that the Mobile Network Operators have paid millions/billions for the spectrum and own the networks. Its their network to exploit.

    Now the VCs that have backed these third party VoIPs are trying to cover bad investment by spin doctoring and spending the investment money on lawyers.

    In this case I hope T-Mobile prevails and recoups all costs, and perhaps damages for Truphone filing a frivolous case.

    John

  12. John/Rajeev – you don’t understand telecoms routing. No-one is trying to “piggy-back” anyones network.

  13. globalconnect Sunday, July 22, 2007

    Now that Truphone has won their case in the UK, what does this mean for Mobile VoIP providers – especially in the global marketplace?

    In the US Mvoip providers are also encountering similar difficulties in the US as they apply for access to the network. Rebtel, for example, is having difficulties with their application to send SMS messages. (see more details at http://www.rebtel.com) Do you believe that Truphone’s victory in the UK will set the tone in the US? Do you think the US courts will decide in favor the VoIP providers based on UK decisions? What impact will it have on Rebtel’s application?

    The follow-up question what are the implications if they loose the application? It seems that it will increase the barriers to entry (which is what the carriers hope), however, will not prevent people from using these services. I reside in the US and let me assure you this SMS glitch DOES NOT impact the ease and usability of Rebtel in the US. Definitely give them a try – you’ll love Rebtel.

    What do you think?

  14. A Mobile VoIP Forecast & What’s Up With Jajah, Raketu & mig33 « GigaOM Sunday, November 18, 2007

    [...] end of 2012 — from virtually zero in 2007. The caveat, of course, is if carriers allow it. If T-Mobile’s recent fracas with Truphone is any indication, the carriers are worried about VoIP over [...]

  15. They should be worried. ((truphone)) is one of the best applications I have come accross. One who installs the service will realize the benefit. In several countries. Flat landline mobile calls are offered from a carrier perspective. However the cost is about USD / Euro / GBP 10. With truphone 40 countries (landline) plus some mobil destination like US / China / Hongkong and Singapore are free of charge. What is most impressive about truphone is the Voice Quality. Other offerings are a joke compared to them.

  16. A Mobile VoIP Forecast & What’s Up With Jajah, Raketu & mig33 | iRing Mobile VoIP Blog Friday, July 25, 2008

    [...] the end of 2012 — from virtually zero in 2007. The caveat, of course, is if carriers allow it. If T-Mobile’s recent fracas with Truphone is any indication, the carriers are worried about VoIP over [...]

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