Friday, September 02, 2005

Skype over cellular

KPN's E-Plus will introduce a flat fee data subscription for laptop users, including VoIP provided by Skype (other VoIP clients will be blocked). Free on-net calls, 1.7 c/min for outbound calls (using SkypeOut). Starts October 2005.

A striking deal:
  • First of its kind.
  • Earlier this week E-Plus said all VoIP would be blocked.
  • Now that MSN, Yahoo! and Google have IM and VoIM (including PC-to-PSTN calls or working on it), this may prove a good niche for Skype.
  • Unclear is how revenues will be shared. Who gets the 1.7 cents a minute? In the fixed world it all goes to Skype.
  • 40 EUR/month is better than Verizon Wireless' 60 $/month, but it remains to be seen if this is a good price point. Remember that this is added to any calling plan.
  • Will E-Plus also introduce a Skype-enabled handset?
  • Can this ever serve as a fixed line replacement? Obviously not at current bit rates; UMTS maximum is 384 Mbps, too frustrating for most (even in Germany). But an upgrade to HSDPA would boost bandwidth at the user end. However, if that in turn would boost usage, the shared nature of cellular technology would limit bit rates (or even cause the network to crash altogether).

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