Mobile VoIP player Fring made wave on Wednesday, announcing a partnership with leading Austrian mobile operator, mobilkom.
Under the agreement, mobilkom austria, which offers products under the popular A1 brand, will give customers access to a dedicated version of the Fring mobile client.
The fact that this service will use proper VoIP over 3G, rather than a circuit switched call via a VoIP gateway as per Skype, makes this a big deal. According to Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis, this is one of the first such VoIPo3G partnerships in Europe and an important signal for the future.
Bubley believes that, "mobile operators should look to partner with 3rd-party VoIP specialists, in order to gain early experience (and leverage their software experience) in delivering packet voice on cellular networks." Ultimately, the analyst expects mobile operators to U turn on their initial VoIP hostility and VoIP advocates.
To start with, the A1 over IP service will be integrated into Fring’s SIP service, but will later lead to a Fring application being built into mobilkom austria’s services and pre installed onto a large number of devices. Fring’s entire feature set will be available, including VoIP, instant messaging, real time presence, file transfer and access to internet applications.