April 26, 2006

New UK threat to traditional telecom companies

Phone users in the UK will soon be able to make on-the-move calls over the Web, posing a new threat to mobile phone companies.  The internet phone corporation Vonage and WiFi hotspot operator The Cloud will launch a new service allowing Vonage subscribers with special WFi mobile handsets to make calls at landline rates from any of The Clouds hotspots in Britain.  Meanwhile Skype now has 100 million active users, all able to phone each other for free, with new companies offering Skype add ons such as instant teleconferencing for up to 500 people.  It all means further headaches for traditional telecom companies who are struggling already to catch up with what consumers are doing, and is part of a rapidly changing landscape for communications.

Expect ordinary telecom call costs to continue to fall towards zero, with further pressure on prices of premium services such as video over mobile.