Why Mobile Operators Like Skype
Once mistrusted and shunned (i.e., blocked), Skype now has many mobile operator partnerships. The hostility to Skype hasn't disappeared entirely -- that over-the-top (OTT) service threat still exists -- but it has subsided. (See Skype, Verizon Add 4G Video Calling, CES 2011: Skype Video on Verizon LTE Phones, CES 2011: Skype Steals International Scene and KDDI Hearts Skype.)
Part of the reason for this is that mobile operators have worked out that Skype is a service that their customers want. More importantly, it's just the sort of value-added service that can help them win new subscribers and, more specifically, lucrative smartphone users. That's why Skype appeals to mobile operators.
"The ability to convert text and voice users to a smartphone and data plan is more important to operators than the potential threat of Skype to their business at this stage," says Gabriel Brown, senior analyst at Heavy Reading.
Besides, Skype on a 3G network shouldn't be considered a direct replacement for operator-provided voice services, because Skype doesn't work that well on 3G networks. "3G packet data is just not good enough for call quality of an OTT service to replace regular voice," notes Brown.
People typically would use Skype on their phones when they are not mobile and when using Wi-Fi networks, he explained.
That will change with Long Term Evolution (LTE), when there will be enough bandwidth for a decent service, but that is a future concern. (See LTE Voice Lag Leaves Operators Vulnerable and VoLTE Maintains Momentum.)
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile