I'm continuously amazed at US Carriers attitude toward its customers. It's clear that everyday users just want to pay the carrier to use their network and be able to do whatever they want on it. The carriers of course don't want that - they want you to see them as providing specific servcies that you just can't do without and be willing to pay extra money for them. They're spending all of this money to add all these features when the majority of thier users just want email, SMS, phone and web browsing. I don't know about you, but I don't use any additional featurs provided by my carrier; I use the phone and my BlackBarry plan, nothing more.
I was reading an interesting article on FirrceWireless this morning about how all of a sudden Apple is 'still evaluating' the Google Voice application they blocked. What prompted this post was the following statement:
'In its response, AT&T said it had nothing to do with the situation.
Apple's lengthy statement included a number of interesting tidbits. The company said "There is a provision in Apple's agreement with AT&T that obligates Apple not to include functionality in any Apple phone that enables a customer to use AT&T's cellular network service to originate or terminate a VoIP session without obtaining AT&T's permission."
In letters sent earlier this month to Apple and Google as well as iPhone operator partner AT&T, the FCC asked why Apple chose to turn down Google Voice.'
The carriers are so afraid of VOIP since it allows customers to just use their network - even for voice calls. All of that revenue from phone minutes that are never used would go away if I could do VOIP over my BlackBerry data plan.
What most people don't realize is that for most of these so called VOIP solutions for BlackBerry the phone call is still made over the Voice network. It's not a VOIP call. When you place a call on Skype for BlackBerry and likely Google Voice, the application connects to a data center somewhere and tells it the user wants to make a call. The back-end application dials the BlackBerry device and, when the BlackBerry application accepts the call, dials the desitination phone number and connects it to the BlackBerry. There's no VOIP here - the app is using the data network to initiate the call, but the actual call is executed on the carrier's voice network.
The other mind boggling aspect of this is UMA - a technology used by T-Mobile in the US to allow you to use a Wi-Fi network connection to place voice calls. Yep, it's VOIP, but get this - you have to pay the carrier to use it. So, if you own a company and you have a Wi-Fi network, you can place calls over your own internal network, but your wireless carrier is going to charge you a monthly fee to use the feature. Huh? You're going to charge me to use my own network and equipment to place phone calls? That's CRAZY!
The carriers are going to have to wake up and realize what their customers really want and stop blocking these technologies. If not, there's going to be a revolution. Some carrier is going to come around that's going to understand that they're just a pipe and make it easy for their customers. I'd gladly pay $100 a month to be able to do anything I wanted on the network - provided they stopped putting all sorts of junk applications on my devcie and stopped trying to get me to buy all sorts of extra services.