A row has erupted between Nokia and network operators Orange and O2 over Nokia’s plans to pre-load the Skype VoIP service onto the N97.
The N97, Nokia’s flagship touchscreen phone due in June, is eagerly anticipated around here, but networks fear that including Skype on the device could cause them to lose voice revenue, with customers opting for cheap unlimited data plans over plenty of free voice minutes.
It’s prompted “high-level discussions” between the companies, which is code for “someone up top is very angry”. O2’s official comment says “We are currently working with Nokia to understand their Skype service and the business model around it.”
It’s interesting that the major operators have such a problem with the service, especially given the runaway success that Three has seen with its Skypephone and followup Skypephone S2, and the awards that the Facebook-and-Skype-integrated INQ has recieved. I’m sure Three will happily take O2 and Orange’s customers for the N97.