Once upon a time, VIP Communications sold GSM gateways. These magical gateways enabled extra-cheap calling by shunting the calls over the cell network, and saved the poor landline callers precious pennies and nickels every day. That’s when the big bad magenta monster, T-Mobile, came along and stomped VIP Communications into a legal pulp for overloading the wireless network in the areas around the gateways. VIP crawled away wounded and went to sell cheap cell time to enterprise through other means, but was still bitter about the situation.
One day when frolicking in the woods and gathering minutes, VIP Communications found a report which said that back in 2004, the impact of their business on T-Mobile amounted to £57 million per year. Armed with renewed bloodthirst and a calculator, VIP determined that T-Mobile had caused a total of £625 million ($US 1.25 billion) in damages. VIP marched valiantly to the UK High Court of Appeal to make their case, and currently fights for all SIM box vendors worldwide. So far the case is looking good: “T-Mobile confirmed when it provided SIMs to VIP, it understood these SIMs would be used by VIP in commercial multi-user GSM Gateways.” 40 other similar gateway providers are waiting for a verdict so they can join in on a class action suit.
The bottom line is that T-Mobile quickly shut down an early contender for fixed-mobile convergence, something BlackBerry is heavily invested in with their Mobile Voice System these days. Was T-Mobile right to protect their airwaves, or simply aggravated by an efficient reseller?