TeliaSonera was very upfront at the recent Mobile World Congress about its intentions to throttle over-the-top (OTT) VoIP services like Skype and Viber unless customers paid for an additional package.
In Spain, through its wholly owned subsidiary
TeliaSonera has already begun to implement the first part of this strategy. Yoigo
offers a plan, Bono
VoIP, which is included in some of what they call their “Mega Plans.” In,
for example, Mega Plan 40, you get 600 minutes of talk time plus 600MB data
allowance, and in addition to that you get a 100Mb for VoIP calls.
Does this mean that Yoigo is throttling “unpaid” VoIP traffic? It would be in line with statements from TeliaSonera. It would also be in line with what many other European operators are doing, according to a recent report from BEREC, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications.
But what will the reaction be? When Dutch operator KPN last year announced plans to charge subscribers extra for the use of OTT services, with a focus on WhatsApp, which is huge in the country, it sparked an uproar, which ended with Dutch legislators quickly introducing – and passing – a net neutrality law.
The situation in Spain seems to be very different. Apart from a few disgruntled voices, Spanish subscribers seem to accept Yoigo’s add-on offering.
Why is this? Is it because Yoigo is the fourth operator in what is essentially a three-operator market? Are OTT services and their availability not an important factor in Spain? Or is it because consumers – outside the Netherlands – aren’t paying attention yet?
Or are we seeing the start of a new attitude from consumers, a willingness to pay for OTT VoIP services if the rest of an operator’s offering is attractive?
What do you think?