Mobile operators must embrace, rather than block, the use of VoIP technology on their networks in order to offer a competitive market choice, according to Ovum.
The analyst firm said in its Mobile Operators Responses to VoIP: the Six Steps report that operators risk alienating customers, particularly early adopters who want to use VoIP, by blocking access to the technology on mobile devices.
"Blocking VoIP is like trying to control the tides. Most mobile operators today have attempted different means of hindering the use of VoIP, or are cautiously monitoring its use," said Ovum principal analyst and report co-author Steven Hartley.
"However, firms would do better to embrace the rise in the technology and look to ways to work with firms like Skype to include VoIP services as part of their data plans."
Hartley added that, as mobile operators lose revenues from traditional voice channels, they should take advantage of the shift to data revenues that VoIP can offer, while using their market advantages, such as quality of service and service level agreements, to meet demand.
"In the US, for example, Verizon has signed a deal to offer Skype access, and other large operators could well follow suit," he said.
"It's a real boon for Skype to have secured this deal, and the company has said it is in discussion with a number of other operators too."
Hartley noted that UK mobile operator 3 currently supports Skype, but that it will need one of the major players to adopt the technology to drive it forward in the UK market.
Long Term Evolution networks will eventually see all traffic carried as data, including voice, but Hartley warned that its implementation is too far away for operators to wait, and said that they should act now to take control of the rise in VoIP traffic.
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