Monday, May 4, 2009

3 extends free Skype calls offer - Britain's smallest mobile network operator 3, owned by Hutchison Whampoa, is extending its offer of unlimited free

The 3G (third generation) operator said there would be no data charges or top-up fees for its customers using a Skype-enabled handset on its network from May 1.

It will expand the offer to customers of other networks during the summer, provided they buy a Skype-enabled 3 SIM costing 1.99 pounds, it said in a statement.

Skype, which owner eBay plans to spin off by the first half of 2010, allows international and local calls through the web, with no charges to fellow Skype customers.

It has been available on 3's network since October 2007, first to contract customers before it was extended to prepay users who met top-up quotas.

3's Chief Executive Kevin Russell said: "We want people to be free to communicate from their mobiles in the same way as they do from their PCs.

"In future, you will be able to buy a 3 SIM for unlimited Skype-to-Skype calls for less than the price of a cup of coffee and talk for as much as you want without paying us another penny."

Industry analyst John Delaney said 3's move could help it gain subscribers, stimulate demand for Internet services on phones and create good PR for the brand.

"We think it's unlikely that Skype will significantly cannibalise conventional call revenues, at least until the number of Skype phones reaches a much higher percentage of total phones in use," said Delaney, research director for European consumer media at IDC.

"If the number of Skype phone users in the UK gets into the tens of millions, voice cannibalisation will become a more pressing issue -- but we think that's a problem that 3 would love to have to deal with."

article taken from

No comments: