Skype And Mobile Still Isn’t A Big Deal

In case you’ve been underwater this week or something, Skype’s been in the news a a bit. With the big push from its purchase by eBay for a bubble-like figure, the “Skype is going to destroy all telecoms, especially mobile” line has been getting a lot of play. As I’ve been saying for a while, Skype and mobile isn’t a big deal. But this week, The Economist leads with “How the Internet killed the phone business”. That’ll probably shift some magazines, but they’ve got it all wrong, and Tomi Ahonen does an incredibly thorough job explaining why.

Tomi hits the nail on the head with his arguments of why Skype over a mobile data connection doesn’t have mobile operators shaking. What they have to worry about is Skype being used as a substitute, not a replacement. People will substitute Skype for standard mobile service on expensive calls — international and roaming calls, for instance. But many of the charges for these are already inflated well beyond margins acceptable to an operator, and the inherent advantage of a mobile phone over Skype — mobility, and mobility in a size more acceptable than a laptop with a data card — will still allow for some premium price. Skype is nowhere near being a replacement for a mobile phone, and it’s doubtful it will ever get there.

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