Truphone recently revealed a preview of its new client software, which introduces SMS-over-IP, ‘presence’ capabilities and VoIP over 3G connections.
Currently a ‘beta’ service, Truphone’s is prevented from launching fully until the 07978 8xxxxx number range is fully interconnected. Beta service customers are presently unaffected by this issue.
T-Mobile is required to ‘make calls or otherwise transmit electronic communications to every normal telephone number’, which it has refused to do in the case of Truphone and other VoIP operators.
However T-Online Ventures, the venture capital arm of T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom, has just invested in VoIP provider Jajah; T-Mobile connects with BT Fusion, a VoIP service; and T-Mobile has also announced a trial of a VoIP service in USA and Germany.
The other four UK major mobile network operators – 3, O2, Orange and Vodafone – all interconnect with Truphone, leaving T-Mobile isolated on this issue.
James Tagg, Truphone’s CEO, said:"This affects every new entrant into mobile telecommunications because the only company that can facilitate interconnection with T-Mobile is T-Mobile. To refuse is therefore an abuse of its position. It amounts to T-Mobile being able to veto a new entrant into the market. This would put telephony back 100 years, to a time when interconnections were not assured."
"T-Mobile will argue that it is not ‘blocking’ Truphone but is merely negotiating on price. T-Mobile receives 35p per minute from its customers but is offering only 0.21p per minute to Truphone even when Truphone’s costs are 9p per minute to terminate the call. T-Mobile is blocking our numbers unless we accept this loss-making offer and, since T-Mobile is the only company that can route calls from its customers it has a complete veto on the Truphone service."
T-Mobile aren’t the first operator to cause Truphone problems. Back when the Nokia N95 was launched the Vodafone and Orange branded handsets were mysteriously missing the SIP stack necessary for some VoIP services.