Three big announcements out of the 3GSM World Congress currently taking place in Barcelona.
- Microsoft announced the upcoming availability of its Office Communicator Mobile Client for Windows Mobile. This will allow users to have access to Live Communications Server-based IM and presence management over cellular networks, and will also function as a VoIP soft-phone over WiFi networks
- Skype made two announcements: a partnership with Hutchison 3 to offer SKype-based mobile devices that work over the Hutchison network, and the release of Skype for Pocket PC 2.0, enabling Windows Mobile users to make Skype calls from their mobile devices.
All three of these announcements have one thing in common, they deliver IP-based call control over wireless mobile networks, circumventing the traditional cellular per-minute rate structure. I continue to believe that VoIP over mobile data services will impact cellular per-minute rate structures in much the same way that broadband VoIP services such as Vonage have impacted traditional PSTN services, they will lead to a further erosion of concepts such as "long distance" and per-minute billing.
Meanwhile, at RSA in San Jose, CA, Blue Coat Systems announced that its ProxySG line of products now has the capability to identify and apply policy controls to Skype traffic running on enterprise networks. This gives network managers who wish to block Skype usage another option for enforcing their usage policies. Given the proliferation of Skype in many enterprises, this represents welcome news for network managers, but downright awful news for Skype users.