Nokia N97 runs into trouble with UK operators

The problem isn't Ovi Store or N-Gage... it's Skype!

Nokia N97 runs into trouble with UK operators
UK operators Orange and O2 may refuse to sell Nokia's N97 handset this June due to the handset maker's plans to preload Skype on it, according to a report on trade website Mobile Today.

It claims the two operators are furious at Nokia's decision to include the VoIP service with the device, provoking "high-level discussions" between them and Nokia.

"This is another example of them trying to build an ecosystem that is all about Nokia and reduces the operator to a dumb pipe," one anonymous operator tells Mobile Today.

"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?"

Even the on-the-record comments from O2 sound rather icy: "We are currently working with Nokia to understand their Skype service and the business model around it," explains a spokeswoman.

If the operators did decide not to stock the N97, it could have implications for mobile games firms. The handset is the flagship phone for Nokia's new Ovi Store, and is an N-Gage capable handset to boot.

Contributing Editor

Stuart is a freelance journalist and blogger who's been getting paid to write stuff since 1998. In that time, he's focused on topics ranging from Sega's Dreamcast console to robots. That's what you call versatility. (Or a short attention span.)