I had a look at Vodafone UK’s Data pricing recently. The T&C seem to have been very much written in non-specific wording and leave an awfull lot of options and loopholes for Vodafone to block the usage of any 3rd party applications or services that would utilize the date connectivity.
“The £1 per day charge and monthly data subscription cannot be used for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services such as Skype or Peer-to-Peer services (such as instant messenger services, text messaging clients or file sharing). These services will not count towards the £1 per day charge or monthly bundle, and are charged separately at £2 per MB, with a 5p minimum charge for each data session”
What do they intend to cover by using the description “services such as Skype or P2P services”? Will this include web-based callback initiated via a data connection but the voice is still circuit-based(Rebtel etc)? Is a game with VOIP capabilities included? Does downloading a spoken word file count as VOIP? Is a VOIP softphone connecting to an IP-PBX actually a “VOIP service” or just a “VOIP application”?
How does this cope with software clients running on your phone use a mix of permitted and non-permited usage?
It also makes me wonder how they intend to “control” this and how the precise definitions & packet inspection mechanisms are going to work and what they intend to do about the possible “false negatives” and “false positives”?
Also seeing that some of this traffic can be “hidden” inside a VPN-tunnel how will Vodafone be able to differentiate that?
This also clearly shows that the imcumbent mobile operators are aware of the threat that these services pose to their revenue. This in itself should be a stimulus and confidence boost to companies offering disruptive technologies in this field.
I have voiced my opinion on mobile operators implementing walled-gardens and limiting data access to services with direct revenue for them before. It reminds me more and more of the approach the music and film industry took to music downloading (and we all know what that lead to…).