Still get some income
... from the 3G charge. Wifi still isn't as readily available in the UK as elsewhere so they would still make some cash.
Interesting thought though: would a telco or handset maker take a chance and ban the Facebook app?
Facebook disappointed anyone expecting the unveiling of a "Facebook phone" last week - including me. But device manufacturers and mobile operators should watch their backs: it's barely the start of what the social-networking website can achieve. As a thought experiment, put yourself in Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg's Adidas …
It is already happening. And much broader than just VOIP. I was in Cape Town last month where I consistently got a full 3G signal on my EE UK phone. As soon as I used a data connection (be that email, browser or a data call from an app) the signal (and speed) dropped to EDGE. I asked around, and it's accepted practice down there, not just for foreigners roaming.
Yup. They'll cripple VOIP (they're allowed to - no network neutrality here in Blighty) then allow bolt-on "VOIP" packages for an extra fiver or so a month (or better still service-specific packages like "Facebook", "Google" so they can charge twice people who use both).
What else can they be? They carry customer voice, SMS and internet data and it's up to the customers what 'value' they place on the conversations and the data that is transferred - with the OTT players helping the customers independently of any telco input to the value-added process.
If the telcos want a slice of the pie, they will have to create a service or value-added 'thing' that customers are willing to pay for. They can of course block VOIP and whatever detectable activity they like, but if they do that then it will lead to a backlash and legislation against them.
Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc, have had years to create and develop their value-added 'thing' and are well established with enourmous user-bases. What could the telcos provide, even if they tried?
Dumb pipes have all they've ever been...and all they can ever aspire to be. While they seem to be able to push bounds on network design and cellular connectivity, mobile telcos are utterly worthless in building any value-added services (while raking in billions of your money).
Can anyone name any service they've invented? SMS? MMS? Yeah, cool innovation from 1992 in a Danish pizzeria, any other enhancements after that? VOIP, high-res photo & video messaging, delivery & read receipts, HD video calling, mobile screen-sharing, etc...? Oh, those were BBM, Skype & FaceTime 10-15 years later.
Do you remember when carriers were dictating handset designs before Apple's agreement with Cingular/AT&T to release iPhone 1...? And Nokia & Blackberry tried, but were perfectly powerless to stand up to the carriers before Apple got into the game.
given the mountains of cash Apple, Microsoft and Google are sitting on, why are we still using O2, vodafone et. al?
I'm genuinely surprised that the big three have not bought out a carrier already, to run facetime/skype/google+ etc. and sniff all the data as it's transferred!
Big Brother - but beware the 'little sisters' too!
So obvious! Who do people phone? Friends. Where are all their friends listed and categorized? Facebook.
I could see VOIP on a PC, perhaps not on a mobile, being an idea.
But there's two problems:
1. If someone really wanted to talk to a friend - they wouldn't be using Facebook in the first place ;)
2. I can't see someone paying for it.
Whatsapp, viber and facebook are seriously behind the curve in terms of ott offerings. See whats happening in China with wechat/weixin ( http://www.wechat.com/ ) where you get voice & text messaging, group chats, video, a facebook style wall with friends updates and "look around" functionality to meet close similarly bored people.
The telco's there are directly threatening to impose per-message fees on such wechat, and presumably any other application that threatens to strangle the SMS / voice revenue base.