TeliaSonera backs off plan to charge for VoIP

Swedish telecommunications company TeliaSonera has reversed an earlier decision to implement an additional fee plan for its customers who want to use over the top VoIP services, choosing instead to simply raise mobile data plan rates across the board. 

TeliaSonera first announced plans to charge for use of over the top mobile VoIP apps in February 2012, A plan similar to one it had already implemented in Spain. 

There, subscribers pay EUR6 a month for 100 megabytes worth of VoIP calls, equivalent to between five and 10 hours of talk time.

The problem is that VoIP "is likely to replace traditional phone calls," according to TeliaSonera Chief Executive Lars Nyberg. "Eventually, all voice calls will be made over IP."

"If all our customers suddenly decided to switch over to VoIP, and we charged them only for the data traffic usage, we would lose about 70 percent of our revenue," Nyberg said.

That's an obvious observation, as all service providers ultimately will face the diminution of the traditional voice calling revenue stream, at current levels of gross revenue and profit margin. The issue is how to transition to "data access" revenue models most elegantly. 

Lots of observers would note that charging extra for use of some apps is not elegant. In this case, TeliaSonera probably has chosen the better approach, namely simply matching value to pricing. 
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