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7/11/2006
11:39 AM
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Free calling for all and to all a good night

Last week, we looked at what is changing in the telecoms industry, noting that some might have prematurely reported the industry's demise.  This is important because, despite the popularity of e-mail and instant messaging, the telephone call is still what most people think of for communication and collaboration.

Perhaps the primary reason I brought this up is the move to a free or practically free calling environment that allows calls to be delivered over the Internet at a cost far less than over the STN (public switched telephony network).  Just to review, legacy technology directs a call through switching centers to its destination.  A call placed over the Internet is broken up into small packets of data, no different than an e-mail or Web page, and then delivered to its destination.  Companies providing VoIP services use the Net's infrastructure, which is far less costly although quality of service may vary.   

Yesterday, Skype announced free calls to non-Skype phones in the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Japan as part of the "Skype Days of Summer" offer.  These three countries comprise some of the most frequently called countries by Skype users.  That should be no surprise as they are also among the leading destinations for all international calling originating from the U.S. and Canada.

Skype recently surveyed its users and found that 25% of them use Skype to make all of their international phone calls.  Many of these calls are, of course, free and more will be free on the weekends during which Skype is offering the new free calling.

Last week, I concluded by asking whose demise we were actually reporting, noting perhaps it was the cost of a phone call.  Now I rest my case.

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