Skype timing of PC-to-PC calling in 2003 was great because broadband had arrived. The type of mobile VoIP offering that Skype is enabling and its related phone launch with Italyâ€™s 3 is mistimed, however. And that is because wireless broadband has not truly arrived yet. If you look at consumer mobile VoIP market, it is being approached by three broad types of offerings: mobile callback, FMC, and (what I call) Voice over Wireless Broadband (VoWB). Mobile callback is plain old voice. FMC can be about multimedia provided there is continuity of multimedia sessions. Companies like Azaire and Stoke are able to offer that. Other vendors like OnRelay who make your cellphone your only phone are also able to facilitate this. However within the mobile VoIP offerings it is the VoWB offering that will ultimately prevail on the consumer side.
If we look at Voice over Broadband (VoBB) in the fixed line market it is slowly replacing land lines. That is what VoWB will do to cell connections. Once cell operators start offering reliable broadband services, there will be a steady migration from GSM accounts to VoWB accounts. So VoWB has much bigger potential. And Skype is tapping the right mobile VoIP option. However the timing is not right.
Skype should have in the interim offered something like mobile callback like Cellity and Jajah. That is a true revenue generator right now because quality does not suffer. On the wireless broadband connections you have available right now, VoIP quality is not reliable at all.
Another issue is that Skype is pushing voice-only option in VoWB. For the purposes of scaling up revenues â€“ due to the recent wake up call â€“ the company is trying to cash in on the arbitrage opportunity. That as well as mobile callback are short term opportunities just like international resale turned out to be in the fixed line market. Arbitrage of any sort fades away over time. The company needs a more comprehensive communications platform for VoWB, something like Fring and Yeigo.