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Skype The Mobile Operators Friend?

What's the real lesson behind the Motorola and Skype move? Pehaps it is in the minutes? The numbers suggest that "Skype" and "Skyping" is a different kind of communications experience. It's why Motorola can embrace Skype and not fear the mobile operators. Possibly it is the only way for them to move forward.

After an "envelope" exercise illustrates that Skype minutes per person may just swamp "mobile" minutes lets prototype a scenario where mobile operators embrace Skype and dual-mode handsets. If for no other reason than people want to talk a lot more than they have ever been allowed to before. The service that we "talk on the most" simply wins. Until now mobile has been beating landlines on convenience. However Skype is creating a frame of reference that is "destroying" that advantage through very lengthy call times and "presence".

Its a challenge to incumbent handset manufacturers and mobile operators alike. If the major handset manufacturers don't catch up and step forward then they could simple lose the market to PC like boxes. Commoditised by Microsoft Smart Phones.

For for those wealthy enough you can almost make the following choices now. In the next year or so consumers are facing a radical choice. So far it's not been presented to them. Imagine a world in which you make a set of decisions and new choices about your landline, mobile and wi-fi connections.

Choice:
1. Drop your landline for a VoIP provider and get usage at any Wi-Fi hotspot. Your mobile plan stays the same. Vonage provides Softphones for free (when will they announce this???)
2. Pay a lttle more to your mobile provider, get a unique Skype number (eg #your_name rather than +1 222 333 4444) from your mobile operator and have Wi-Fi and Skype anywhere. SkypeIn calls (#your_name)within the mobile network are free. Vodaphone?
3. Buy a dual mode handset, new Wi-Fi router at home, extra charger stick in the GSM card and say to hell with "discounted phone offers" and additional mobile lock-in. Drop your landline and be happy. One time cost $500. Landline savings start at $250/annum. No more carrier lock-in. Wait for reasonable 3G charges. (iMate really???)

Who is threatened?

  • Mobile operators need help! Skype potentially turns off you and me from any "positive vibes" for our mobile services. The Wi-Fi handset becomes a "cheap" alternative. Only way to keep us.. put Skype on the mobile.
  • Handset vendors that don't accomodate / embrace Skype are left behind. Outmoded UI's, lack of presence etc.
  • The Landline operators become really desperate. They will look for a Skype killer. The problem is that the solution is even more challenging for them to embrace. (think Popular Telephony)

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    Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Skype The Mobile Operators Friend?:

    » Skype segments from Telepocalypse
    I just wonder if Skype could actually be a mobile carrier’s best friend. The problem they have today is that bucket sizes are increasing, and data differentiation isn’t really working very well. Somehow they want to value price that network... [Read More]

    Comments (1)

    Stuart is right on many points. One that needs to be clarified is while the download of XTEN Lite from Vonage is free, there is the need to establish a second line and a charge of $9.95 a month to use it.

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