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Operators coming round to VoIP as Skype ships on Verizon phone

19 февраля 2010

Verizon Wireless and Skype this week announced a partnership that will see the latter's VoIP client ship on the U.S. operator's smartphones – a move that one analyst said is symptomatic of a change in attitude on the part of telcos.

"The Skype/Verizon announcement demonstrates that mobile operators are beginning to change their attitude towards VoIP providers," said Dario Talmesio, senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, in a research note.

"They have gone from blocking to managing what they consider to be an issue."

"Credit to Verizon, they understand [Skype], and they get it," said Russ Shaw, vice president and general manager of Skype's mobile activities in EMEA.

He told Total Telecom during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that the deal significantly broadens Skype's reach, and enables Verizon to deliver a "richer customer experience".

Skype is now used by 15% of all iPhone and iPod Touch users, and carries 12% of the world's international long-distance minutes, he said.

Shaw was also keen to point out that VoIP is not a threat to operators' financial health.

"We don't want the carrier's customers – they're the ones that manage the customer relationships and we don't want to get in the way of that," said Shaw.

"We have half a billion registered customers, so we're bringing our customers to the carrier and they're bringing their customers to us," he commented.

Shaw also tried to calm fears that mobile VoIP traffic over 3G will put even more strain on operators' data networks.

"Skype calling over data uses between and eight and 20 kilobytes – it's not a heavy burden and it's something we watch very closely," he said.

He acknowledged that some players have been caught off-guard by the surge in mobile data usage.

"Verizon happen to have built one of the world's best 3G networks," he added.

Skype for Symbian also launched this week, meaning consumers will be able to download the VoIP client from Nokia's Ovi store.

"It's not as integrated onto the phone as when we launch with a carrier, but it means we're live on a whole host of Nokia and Symbian handsets," said Shaw.

Informa's Talmesio said market forces are such that now operator's cannot avoid Internet-based VoIP.

"Operators wanting to be serious players in the mobile Internet need to embrace openness and they need to allow Internet services on their devices - this includes VoIP," he said.

He added that blocking VoIP is simply not an option anymore.

"Those operators fearing VoIP providers need to be able to provide a compelling service competing with VoIP. Blocking VoIP simply doesn’t work for customers," he commented.

Источник: Total Telecom

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