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VOIP services

Skype's Latest Telco Friend

8:20 AM -- With Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) keen to get ever closer to mobile operators in any way possible, a new deal between its newly acquired VoIP business, Skype, and Indonesia's largest mobile operator will please it no end. (See Microsoft Completes Skype Acquisition and Microsoft to Buy Skype for $8.5B .)

PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel) , which has more than 105 million customers, is offering its customers two weeks of free Skype usage if they sign up for the service before Jan. 31, 2012. After that, the mobile users need to subscribe to the carrier's data package to continue using the VoIP service: Telkomsel's data packages start at 25,000 Indonesian Rupiahs (US$2.81) per month.

The offer, available initially on 24 smartphones, looks like quite a smart way to get people to sign up for a data package, though obviously it could dent the operator's voice revenues.

Mobile VoIP is clearly the future, so we can expect to see similar deals around the world, though not every operator needs to partner with Skype for its IP voice capabilities. (See VoIP's Not the Devil, Says O2 UK Chief, Euronews: Telefonica Goes After Skype and Why Mobile Operators Like Skype .)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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