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  5. Nokia’s N97 Skype plan causes rift with networks

Nokia’s N97 Skype plan causes rift with networks

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A spat is developing between UK mobile phone operators and Nokia over plans to include Skype on its forthcoming flagship handset the N97.

Last week it emerged that Nokia was planning to include Skype on its N97 handset, which would enable customers to make free calls.

However, this has angered Orange and O2, who subsidise the selling price of handsets with their deals and would typically expect to recoup the costs via call charges.

According to a report from Mobile, the disagreement could escalate to the extent that both networks could eventually refuse to stock the phone.

An unnamed source at a network operator told the site: “This is another example of them trying to build an ecosystem that is all about Nokia and reduces the operator to a dumb pipe.

“Some people like 3 may be in a position where it could make sense to accept that. But if you spend upwards of £40m per year building your brand, you don’t want to be just a dumb pipe do you?”

He added: “Nokia have tried several ways to own the customer over the years and operators have had to say no.”

Nokia is pinning its hopes on the N97 as a potential iPhone challenger this year.

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