Nokia's decision to add popular voice over IP software, Skype, to its NSeries mobile phones has been met with strong opposition from O2 and Orange according to some news outlets.
Mobiletoday claims that T-Mobile and Three have already said they would be supporting Skype on NSeries while Vodafone has yet to come forward to clarify its stand on that controversial issue.
O2 and Orange could refuse to stock the N97 or any other Skype-enabled NSeries as it could potentially eat away precious revenue and reduce them to mere "dumb pipes".
Arguably it is not the first attempt that Nokia is making to capture more the minds of users and extend the average revenue per user beyond the cost of the mobile phone.
OVI and Comes with Music have been launched in the last few months and are already seen as potent competitors to similar services offered by mobile networks like Vodafone or Orange.
Skype for mobile phones has been available for quite some time. You can download it as an application for a wide array of mobile phones but all UK phone networks, with the exception of Three, have banned VoIP on their networks (as well as Tethering and P2P).
However, Nokia plans to make the Skype even more integrated with the N97, down to the contact book and possibly a dedicated Skype button like the Skypephone. It is likely that Skype will be providing Nokia with a cut of revenues down the line on paid-for services.
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T-Mobile is being smart. It is one of the smaller mobile phone networks and it knows that Skype helped Three gain a significant number of new customers which translates into a higher ARPU and better customer retention. This is going to be particularly important as the recession bites in and is probably why the bigger network operators want to muscle in Nokia before a trickle becomes a flood.