The decision on how to treat with customers using VOIP is based on what each local mobile provider knows of the capabilities of its network, TSTT said in a media release yesterday.It came on the heels of a Sunday Guardian report which stated that sole local competitor Digicel had banned popular voice-over-internet applications like Viber, Tango and Nimbuzz, which allow smartphone users to make free calls over the Internet.
While maintaining that its mobile company bmobile, "declines from offering any comment on Digicel's decision to block VOIP service providers," TSTT said that its perspective had been that "once customers have bought data services from bmobile, customers determine how much they wish to use their data."They further explained that in entering the 4G market, bmobile did not take a "one size fits all" approach and built a large wi-fi network of 50 b zones that not only help customers "conserve the data bundles they pay for" but also take traffic off the 4G network allowing "other customers who chose to use their 4G data bundles to do so without any inconvenience."
In an e-mail exchange with the Sunday Guardian about the Digicel app ban, Digicel's communications manager Penny Gomez said that because VOIP services were network intensive and given priority in terms of delivery across the network, it in turn meant that "other customers' browsing will be impacted." The TSTT release made it clear that was not a problem shared by b mobile customers.On Saturday, Digicel, who had already banned the apps in Jamaica and Haiti, sent text messages to its T&T data customers making them aware of the ban and published a public advisory on its Web site that "effective immediately, unlicensed VOIP services are blocked on its network."
The statement added that VOIP operators, like Viber and Nimbuzz, "use telecoms networks to deliver their services but do not pay the requisite money for the privilege."Digicel CEO John Delves said in a company release yesterday on Twitter that he "is standing by his company's decision to block unlicensed VOIP services on its network," despite criticism from its customers, some of whom used Facebook as a forum to voice their displeasure saying that they now intended to leave the network for bmobile, questioned whether Skype would soon be added to the banned list, and how it was possible for other companies to handle the "enormous pressure" while Digicel could not.