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August 02, 2004

Thank Skype - Buy Minutes

I got this in my inbox today. “In the past week Skype just carried out the world’s first real massive global VoIP to PSTN service deployment project.” Clearly throwing the switch and turning on SkypeOut was quite a guessing game.

So I sought a little perspective. You would have to sign a deal for 50 million minutes to get good PSTN interconnect rates and really get into the game. 5 million might just get you an access pass. Unused minutes would be a big burn if you got it wrong. While Skype uses a prepaid system I doubt they wanted "risk" in the multi-millions. So they predicted 50M and spread it over a month. (I'll take other point of view on this!)

So just playing with Skype numbers --- almost 500k online concurrently today. Thus between 1 and 2 million people actually used Skype today. Skype calls are long. They well exceed the duration of the "local" call. 30 minutes a day for a Skyper would be conservative. Heavy users probably more like an hour (or more!) many who would have subscribed. If the usual 80/20 rules apply then 20% of Skypers are heavy users. Thus the "GUESS" number is 200K users at 60 minutes (over two days)means they tried to consume well over 10 million minutes in the first couple of days. It could have been double that. I'm certainly not in the know. This feels like enough to break the system short term.

What's this mean? It means that Skype must have written a few million dollars of business just after it official release and they are still having payment problems with credit versus debit cards. That's not bad!

If I was another VoIP or telephone operator I wouldn't be laughing at this deployment. Connecting one network with another is often difficult. For Skype the connection is a must do, and yet longer term the whole idea of inter-connecting may be obsolete, along with telephone numbers, operators, and paying for minutes.

So BUY SkypeOut minutes and try it out. If you have used Skype and spent hours and hours in conversation then right now buying minutes and using them is the best thanks you can provide. The more Skypers that commit simply the lower the rates ultimately will be. Concurrently the Skype network also gets stronger.

So my plug for today. I want my Skype when ringing to provide name photo etc. and now add.... "SKYPE COMMUNITY MEMBER". Membership only for account holders. It provides some verification. More importantly I can see who calls me and is not supporting Skype. If you want it to spread then let the few inform others.

To close. Skype online numbers appears to have stagnated prior to SkypeOut. Their growth looks to have accelerated again. I'm looking to see if this is true. If so the 500k online mark will be passed soon and Skype will have more paying customers than Vonage.

Posted by Stuart, August 2, 2004 10:58 PM | Trackback Link (http://www.henshall.com/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/754)
Comments & Trackbacks

Hi Stuart,
FYI, this little article by Gartner about Skype - http://www4.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?doc_cd=122139

Cheers,

Elise

Posted by: elise on August 3, 2004 11:20 AM | Permalink to Comment
>>>>I am a huge Skype enthusiast and a frequent user of Skypeout: from What Ralph Knows
This is a plug for Skype. I read Stuart Henshall's post about the global VoIP to PTSN deployment and while I did not appreciate the magnitude of the deployment effort, I certainly appreciate the service. I am a user who conducts long telephone conferen......

Trackback on: Aug 3, 2004 8:46 PM
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