My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: @SKMobilesInLC wins Patent Case against @Viber – Why 4G LTE and VoLTE will have to compete against VoIP Apps


Thursday, February 26, 2015

@SKMobilesInLC wins Patent Case against @Viber – Why 4G LTE and VoLTE will have to compete against VoIP Apps

“The ban will be imposed both on the Android and Apple iOS platforms. We have not yet heard from Viber whether it will bring the case to the higher court. The lawsuit came as Viber evidently infringed our patent rights”

Spokespersons for SK Telecom commenting on their Patent Case win against Viber with regards to bypassing their Network

VoIP and IM (Instant Messenger) App Viber is in big trouble in South Korea.

They’ve lost a case against South Korean Telecom Provider SK Telecom with regards to synching smartphone Contact list and associates Call and Messaging data into the Viber App as noted in the article “Viber Faces Ban In Korea As SK Telecom Wins Potentially Wide-Ranging Patent Suit”, published Feb 24, 2015 by Jon Russell, Techcrunch.

Basically, this ruling simply means that Viber, which terminates calls made through its app on Local and International landlines and mobile phone numbers, could potentially be banned from operating in South Korea.

Good to note that SK Telecom isn’t saying that the popularity of the VoIP App that also does IM (Instant Messaging) is cutting into their Voice revenues. By going after the obvious patent infringement, it makes it easier to mask their true intentions as noted in the coy statements by SK Telecom in the article “South Korean mobile operator wins patent suit against Viber”, published February 23, 2015 By Eileen Yu, ZDNet.

This is hauntingly similar to the complaint by Telecom Provider Digicel with regards to Viber and Nimbuzz clogging their Network with Voice Traffic and not paying to Terminate Voice Calls as noted in my blog article entitled “Digicel blocks VoIP Services Viber and Nimbuzz in Haiti - Digicel losing International Calling Revenue but will be worse when WhatsApp comes”.

SK Mobile wins Patent Case against Viber – Why 4G LTE and VoLTE will have to compete against VoIP Apps

The truth is, in BOTH cases, the Telecom Providers were losing revenue due to users of the App being able to terminate calls without paying Toll, cross-connection or Termination charges to complete calls on Local and International landlines and mobile phone numbers.

By going after a patent and not their obvious bypass, they're basically avoiding looking anti-competitive in the eyes of the public while potentially setting up a situation with this vague patent infringement where they can use the case as a legal precedent to go after other VoIP Providers.

So expect Kakao's KakaoTalk, with some 37 million users to be in their Crosshairs, with Viber, being much smaller fish, as a mere test run to see if going after this vague patent infringement can also be used against KakaoTalk.

Based on a similar case here in Jamaica with Telecom Provider Digicel and LIME where Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell gave the Telecom Providers the green light to block VoIP that weren't registered to operate like normal Telecom Providers as noted in my blog article entitled “Minister Paulwell says VoIP Providers must Register to Terminate - Why WhatsApp may no longer be Free as IXP by January 2015, MNP by May 2015”.

But how long will this last?

With 4G LTE Networks being deployed globally, giving more bandwidth for these Data hungry VoIP Apps to play as argued in the case of WhatsApp going VoIP in my blog article entitled “WhatsApp VoIP Calling in Second Quarter of 2014 - WhatsApp kills International Calling at the Advent of Facetime-eqsue Premium Video VoIP Calling on smartphones”, how long can the Telecom Providers delay the inevitable?

After all, their popularity might now spark persons withdrawing their services. But they can complain to their relative Regulatory and Consumer Affairs advocates with regards to a lack of Network Neutrality. That is to say, the Telecom Providers are deciding what Traffic can be on their Network.

Such protest aren’t vocal now, but will become so once VoLTE is introduced and it becomes clear that the Telecom Providers are trying to re-ensnare customers in their Metered Billing Services again,. Despite having paid for their Data to do with as they believe they have a right to do.

A case worthy watching......worlds away in the South Korean Telecom Market!

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