back to article T-Mobile terminates Truphone

T-Mobile has stopped connecting its customers when they call someone using Truphone, saying the VoIP operator is overcharging for interconnection. Instead, T-Mobile customers get a recorded announcement saying they must have misdialed. T-Mobile says its objection is that the termination rate Truphone is asking for is about the …

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  1. Marc-Oliver Kalis

    This is the typical management arrogance

    This behaviour is typical for "Deutsche Telekom" which T-Mobile is a subsidery of.

    They think, because they have a monopoly in Krautland (I am aloud to say that, since I am one myself) they can bully their way through in other countries too.

    Because of the managements stupidity they are currently have big problems because of a massive strike in Germany, which is now starting to affect all areas of their business.

    Just because they don't have a mobile network, doesn't mean they don't costs for various of their services.

    Who is t-mobile to say what they should charge? after all, they are charging their customers horrendous rates for dialing this number.

    Or are they all of a sudden going to charge landline rates to truphone numbers.

    This is the only way I could realistically see it being justifiable.

    They want to be treated fair? well then they will ahve to pass on the buck and treat their customers fair.

    Apart from that, T-mobile should first get their network in order before they make these claims.

    The company I currently work for is about to move away from them due to their extremely poor client management and their poor network performance.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Double standards?

    So let me get this straight: Prior to the ban, T-Mobile were charging their customers "other mobile network" rates to call them but the don't want to pay "other mobile networks" termination rates?

    Perhaps they should look at implementing more accurate billing - while both Truphone and mobile operators start with 07, they will still have distinct number ranges. Perhaps the billing system should use the same number ranges as the call routing does?

    Oh hang on, that might cost them money (in revenues as well as implementation)!

  3. Lou Gosselin

    Why does the interconnect fee exist at all?

    Wouldn't it be in the best interest of all parties (in general, not just in this case) for interconnects to just happen without any fees whatsoever?

    Isn't it reasonable for customers of T-Moble should pay for the T-Moble network equipment and customers of Truphone to pay for Truphone's network equipment.

    Why should customers of one be expected to subsidize the other through interconnect fees? If cell phone networks are more expensive to maintain, then cell phone customers should pay more, users of the cheaper voip services shouldn't have to pay to support the cell phone infrastructure.

    What is T-Moble's recourse if another network is overcharging? They stopped connecting calls to call attention to Truphone's abuse. What else should they have done?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a

    I can see the argument has merit, but it is surely not T-Mobile's place to take unilateral action. If there is a problem with Truphone falsely appearing to have a mobile network and charging mobile rates, then that is something to take up with Oftel surely ?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    err .. interconnect fee's

    How is it reasonable that when someone on network X calls someone on network Y which uses resources on network Y that network Y is not reimbursed for the usage of their network (and make a profit) ?

    Interconnects fee's are used everywhere fixed, mobile whatever and rightly so. How can a business survive if other operators customers can use their network for free ? you can't just assume that it all balances out fairly ...

    The only way to not have interconnect fee's is for operators to charge their customers for receiving phone calls from other operators customers, which is something that their customer can't control and wont even know when they accept the phone call ... that seems really fair ....

  6. Andy Davidson

    Interconnect

    Lou - the interconnect fee is terribly important.

    If I am a BT Customer and you are a cable customer, and I call you, BT charge me some money for the phone call. Whether I pay money because I call you using minutes from an inclusive plan, or they charge me some money based on the duration of the call, they bill me. Some of that money is used to pay for the infrastructure that carries the call across the BT network, and some of that money is used to pay your cable telco based on the costs of carrying the call across their network to you.

    If BT didn't need to pay your cable company, then the cable company would need to pay to carry the call that BT are making revenue on, across their network, for no money at all.

  7. David Cantrell

    Truphone number range

    According to the number allocation files on OFCOM's website, no numbers beginning 05 (which is where VOIP lives) or 07 (personal, mobile, and other numbering) have been issued to "Truphone", or to anything that looks like a plausible variation on that. The 07624 number they have on their home page is allocated to Manx Telecom for radiopaging, *not* for mobile services. I think Truphone (and Manx Telecom) are being a bit naughty.

  8. Lou Gosselin

    Re: Interconnect

    I see what your saying and I agree with your logic, however I disagree with your conclusion (that the receiving end would be forced to carry with for no money at all. Don't all cell phone plans charge for both incoming and outgoing calls today alread?). Unlimited local and long distance plans do exist here in the states where customers of different networks can call each other for "free" without killing the operators.

    In this case does it really matter who calls who? It's the same network resources, why should one operator make a profit off of the other (even if one has greater network costs)?

    If anything no fee may be incompatible with existing calling plans, but that in itself doesn't discredit the no connect fee idea. As one poster said, the receiver has no control over incoming calls, which is true at least for the first minute. So perhaps a modest connect fee is appropriate.

    However I see no reason why one operator deserves a much higher fee than another, the customers of one network should never have to subsidize those of another. If cell service is expensive, then only cell phone customers should pay for that. Here in the US many cell networks allow "free" in-network calling, implying that calling plans have already budgeted for maintainence in the call plans, and that the highest costs to them may actually be the interconnect fees. If it wasn't for this fee then all calls could be "free" in or out of network.

    Unless I'm missing something, the companies could still make a profit by doing so. Whether operators are willing to provide such a plan is a different matter, I'm just talking economics.

  9. Theresa Jayne Forster

    It's not just truphone

    UK Voip operator Mobiboo are also being blocked by T-Mobile and also 3,

    These 2 operators refuse to allow their customers to dial the Mobiboo numbers which all start 07911 . As with Truphone trying to dial these numbers ends up with a recording saying that the subscriber must have misdialled.

    However Mobiboo has a solution and for a cheap £2 per month you can have a Geographic number pointing to your Mobiboo number that is callable even from T-Mobile.

  10. James Body

    Truphone Number Range

    Directed mainly at David Cantrell

    Truphone is the brand name of the converged VoIP/GSM mobile service operated by Software Cellular Network Ltd. Examination of the OFCOM numbering allocation records shows the range 079788 xxxxxx to be assigned to Software Cellular Network Ltd. Note that this range is designated 'Mobile Services'.

    The Truphone beta offering in UK assigns 07624 numbers. Post beta users will receive numbers in the new 079788 range. There is a migration plan to painlessly allow users with 07624 numbers to transition to new numbering.

    How and why are Truphone and Manx being 'naughty'? And since when has VOIP (sic) lived in the 05 numbering range - there was a plot initiated by the legacy carriers a couple of years ago with the intent of forcing UK VoIP into a 05 numbering 'ghetto'; this was dashed by the UK Internet Telephony Service Providers Association (ITSPA) who successfully campaigned for the rights of ITSPs to provide services right across the full range of UK numbering.

    Your comments imply that you may be connected in some way with one of the legacy carriers?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a

    "Don't all cell phone plans charge for both incoming and outgoing calls today alread?"

    I believe they do things differently in the US. Over here one pays for the call you made (as long as you are in your home country) not for incoming calls. Personally if I was expected to pay for incoming calls to my mobile I wouldn't have one. Open charter for cold call selling isn't it ?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just use a SIP provider with landline numbers instead

    sipgate for example. All 01, 02 numbers.

    With proper SIP providers you can also use the SIP features built into the phone (if it has any) which integrates nicely with the phonebook (certainly does on the N80 with the Internet Edition updates). No need for proprietary software.

    But anyway, who wants to use VoIP over mobile networks anyway? Kind of defeats the purpose. Use WiFi and bypass the overpriced operators.

  13. Scott McKinlay

    Networks fighting a losing battle ?

    http://www.whatmobile.net/forumvb/showthread.php?t=16542

    http://www.computing.co.uk/personal-computer-world/news/2192376/mobile-defends-block-cheap-call

    http://www.computing.co.uk/vnunet/news/2192416/mobile-denies-blocking-voip

  14. Boris Efron

    T-Mob will be the loser

    T-Mobile is flagrantly in breach of EC Directives 2002/19/EC and 2002/20/EC (in respect of Access and Authorisation of public electronic communications networks and associated facilities). I have no doubt that Neil Buckley, Competition Policy Director at Ofcom will be down on them like a 'ton of bricks'.

    T-Mobile should take a look back over their shoulder to see where they came from. No more than 10 years ago they too were a small fledgling struggling to get a foothold in the UK mobile market. Lest they should have forgotten - their name then was One2One.

  15. Roland Hanbury

    T-Mobile's argument about the costs of the network is spurious

    Amortisation, operation and maintenance of the physical radio network represent a tiny proportion of T-mobile's expenditure -- I would guess less than 5%. The rest is accounted for by marketing, customer service, finance & billing, call routing etc., all of which Truphone has to bear as well.

    In addition, Truphone has additional costs, including software development on the handset and other start-up costs which, if anything, should justify higher termination charges than the established mobile networks. This was precisely the logic which was advanced by Hutchison 3 and accepted by OFCOM, which resulted in the very generous termination rates paid to them for the first few years of operation right up to the present day.

  16. Boris Efron

    Well said Marc-Oliver Kalis

    Further to my posting last Thursday - It is invidious that T-Mobile thinks it can simply block calls to Truephone's numbers and get away with it.

    I agree with everyting Marc-Oliver Kalis said in his posting - and If I were a citizen of his country and having 'excused boots status’ for making comments about fellow citizens, I think I would have launched a far more blistering attack on those erstwhile T-Mobile people, who were so aptly referred to as: Bullies, Stupid and Arrogant - may I be allowed to add to his list just one more word - "Pompous".

    Who the hell do these T-Mobile people think they are? Truephone is a fledgling operator, bringing new and innovative mobile services to the UK market. They (T-Mobile) are so 'puffed up' with their own self-importance that they have probably forgotten where they came from.

    Yes, 10 years ago they were once a fledgling little 2G start-up outfit themselves, called "One2One" - struggling to get a foothold in the UK mobile market (along with the other new kid on the block, Orange). Back then, the UK mobile market was dominated by Vodafone and BT Cellnet (now O2) - and lest the T-Mobile macho management should forget – they (one of the little fledglings) were protected by ‘Auntie Oftel’, through controls, which were imposed on the dominant MNOs (BT Cellnet and Vodafone).

    These controls limited the amount BT Cellnet and Vodafone could charge for calls from landlines or other mobile networks. At the time when those controls were put into place, neither Orange nor One2One was regarded as a major player and neither was included in the regulation. But, about two years later (after having had a ‘period of grace’ to establish themselves and build a customer base), Orange and One2One were subjected to the same controls.

    The T-Mobile macho management team really does need to re-visit its past and recognise that the position they now hold in the UK mobile market is due in no small part to the 'leg-up' they (and their predecessor One2One) were given by the UK regulator back in the late 1990’s.

    Aside from the list of negative attributes mentioned earlier (i.e. bullying, management stupidity, arrogance and pompousness), it is so blatantly obvious that T-Mobile’s actions are based on fear and envy. Fear, because they see a bright new entrant coming to market with new and innovative services that they don’t have (and won’t have for many years). Envy, because Truephone’s network is effectively 4G and T-Mobile doesn’t have a hope in hell’s chance of getting 4G services running until well into the next decade.

    All power to Truephone in their ‘David and Goliath’ battle.

    All power to Ofcom for having the guts to issue an immediate order on T-Mobile to open Truephone’s numbers and to have them put in inclusive minutes bundles too. After all, Ofcom has no other choice - by the very nature of its unilateral action to cut off calls to Truephone, T-Mobile has committed a flagrant breach of EC interconnection regulations.

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