Could Skype Crush the Telco’s?

SkypeAs you would probably realise I have been away for a few days. I was blown away by the news that Skype has applied for a patient that indicates that it might in the future offer free calls to any phone worldwide for free!

The patient has not received much publicity to this point, mainly because the call from objectors has not been made. That happens on the 1st of August. Prepare for war, that date is looming. The Patient’s title is “The Whole World Can Talk for Free”. Yes that’s been their slogan for a long time. But I refer to Russell Shaw’s reply:

Yes, of course I know Skype has been using this phrase in their marketing for a year now, and it appears on their home page. But why go to the point of registering it.. now? Is this basically a butt-cover to forestall similar phraseology from competitors who Skype fears may underprice them, or are there larger forces at work?

This is huge. We may be in the first stages of a major restructuring of the global communications market. That is to say nothing about the impact that this will or may have in Australia. In Australia we are ripped off supremely for phone calls and access. In addition to that we pay twice when we phone a landline using Skype; we pay for the broadband access, we pay for the call. Admittedly I would have payed for the broadband anyway but in my opinion this is a double dip.

One thing that may or may not be happening in other countries is that the major Telco in Australia (Telstra) charges everyone an access fee to a landline. Not so strange you say. What about the fact that if I choose not have a phone line and just use VoIP for my calls via my broadband connection; I still need to have a landline in order to get the broadband! So Telstra charge me for access to the line that I have to have then I have to pay for my Internet connection on top of that then I have to pay for my Skype calls to landlines and mobiles on top of that! See my point. So how might this rumour affect me should this prediction come true?

I could see the major Telstra off-setting the loss of revenue with an increased charge for access. Not only that they will charge like a wounded bull for the ignorant few that are left with no knowledge of Skype. So based on that I am not sure how this one will resolve. I am crossing my fingers…

For those of you that might doubt the power of the Skype marketing engine. Just remember that Skype have been offering free outbound calls in America for the last couple of months, what is there stopping them from extending this globally. With the right business model of course. In addition I think an inclined to agree with Shaw in that to take advantage of this you will probably have to make some form of financial commitment to some service that Skype offers. Still that given I think that it will beat the Telco’s hands down as far as value for money. We will no longer be held to ransom by these companies that insist on ripping us off blind!

In summary though I see trouble on the horizon for Telecommunication Companies that will need to drastically revise their business model in order to stay in the game. If they are not scared now they should be, this was always coming and it is on our doorstep now. I will be very interested to see what happens on the 1st of August. I am thinking that there will be a long list of objectors.

Of course this is all speculation but time will tell.