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Verizon set to announce Skype partnership

17 февраля 2010

Verizon Wireless looks set to become the first large US mobile operator to let its customers make free or low-cost calls by using Skype on its network.

John Stratton, Verizon Wireless’ chief marketing officer, and Josh Silverman, Skype’s chief executive, are due on Tuesday to announce a partnership between the two companies at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

It underlines how mobile operators are increasingly dropping their resistance to Skype because of a combination of competitive and regulatory pressures.

Skype and similar services, based on Voice over Internet Protocol technology, such as Google Voice, will dent mobile operators’ revenues from traditional voice services. This is because the VoIP services enable calls to be made using the data portion of customers’ mobile tariffs.

Mobile voice calls generate about $700bn in revenues each year for the operators, and represent the majority of their sales, according to Gartner, the technology consulting firm. Revenues from data services providing internet access are growing quickly, but they still amount to a minority of operators’ sales.

“Over time traditional network-based mobile carriers face the real prospect of losing a major slice of their voice traffic and revenue to new non-infrastructure players that use VoIP,” said Akshay Sharma, research director at Gartner.

Like many of its peers, Verizon Wireless, the largest US mobile network operator, has until recently opposed allowing VoIP services to run on its network.

In October, the company announced a partnership with Google. As well as selling several handsets featuring Google’s Android operating system, Verizon Wireless said it would allow Google Voice.

Also in October, AT&T, the second-largest US mobile operator and exclusive network for Apple’s iPhone, agreed that VoIP services could run on its network. Skype has yet to release an application for Apple’s iPhone that can run on AT&T’s network.

Some European-based mobile operators have already allowed VoIP services, including 3 UK, owned by Hong Kong’s Hutchison Whampoa. It starting selling a Skype phone in 2007. Last year Deutsche Telekom’s German mobile unit said its customers could use VoIP services on its network.

Источник: Financial Times

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