Hutchison embraces VoIP, others ready for battle

When it comes to the threat of alternative VoIP providers over wireless, carriers are emerging with varying strategies. Hutchison is embracing, and indeed encouraging, third-party VoIP usage through a deal with Skype. Later this year, Hutchison's European mobile businesses will begin bundling Skype's new client for Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 with smartphones and flat-rate data tariffs. Yet there are a lot of answered questions that Hutchison wasn't really answering, including the possibility of cannibalization, what implications this would have on the network and the lack of QoS in the current 3G standard.

Meanwhile, Vodafone Group CEO Arun Sarin said his company will look to offer big mobile data bundles in the future to counter the threat from VoIP services. HSDPA technology will make large data bundles possible in the next two to three years. U.S. carriers offer flat-rate high-speed data service pricing but their contracts limit any type of VoIP usage or machine-to-machine communications primarily because of network capacity concerns. When it comes to VoIP adoption today, QoS is still an issue as are the expensive bundles carriers are offering.

For more information about Hutchison's VoIP plans and Vodafone's comments about VoIP:
- check out this article from telecoms.com (sub. req.)
- read this article from Dow Jones

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