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Is Skype planning on a partnership with Wireless Carriers? July 27, 2010

Posted by TelUS Consulting Services in Wireless catagory.

Last week, Skype released the new version of its iPhone app which runs in the background making it possible to now leave Skype on and use the service as your main way to receive calls on your mobile phone.  As almost an aside, Skype has decided to put its plans to charge for 3G calls on hold. Note that this may save your mobile minutes, but what the usage on your data plan.

What’s interesting is that the company noted this change in plans with some reasoning behind the move. The “mobile world is in a period of significant change” says Skype’s blog. Indeed, the pricing models of our previous unlimited data buckets are changing and IP communications are being threatened by data caps and overage charges just like those old minute buckets of the early wireless world. With companies charging differently for data usage, Skype has pulled the plug on its plans to essential double charge its 3G callers.

One interesting take on this move came from The Register which posited that as Skype cozies up with operators, it might be in its interest to help carriers drive up data usage. It is possible that Skype use could be translated into carrier profits with users opting for bigger data buckets, and this profit might one day take the form of making Skype money ala partnerships like the one they’ve already formed with Verizon. Skype’s own blog post does say they are happy to keep 3G calling free because they are “delighted to make it easier for you to talk for even longer and do even more together using Skype.” Doing more and talking longer on Skype means more data use for the wireless carriers to me. Perhaps ‘no longer having plans to charge for 3G’ means having plans to make money from those calls by other means. Hmmm, the joys of creative marketing.

Joe Buck, N.C.E.

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