T-Mobile: "Owned" by Skype? Or maybe not…

by alec on December 26, 2006

I just finished chatting with Andy about his Mylo.  Andy loves his Mylo.  He was calling me from the Starbucks near his house, using their T-Mobile WiFi and Skype on Mylo for… nothing.  Quality was pretty good, although Starbucks was a pretty noisy place.

The way Andy sees it, Skype has done something totally subversive with Sony and T-Mobile.  For the price of the Mylo, and $15 to Skype, you can make unlimited calls from any T-Mobile hotspot to anybody in North America for the next 12 months.  In fact, you can do the same from any hotspot, T-Mobile or not.  It’s just that Mylo includes 12 months of T-Mobile usage. 

It’s a helluva deal, but I disagree that it’s Skype doing the subverting.

You see, in France, Orange has a very similar deal running.  For a flat monthly fee, you get the Orange Livebox (broadband / Wifi), and phone service.  For a small additional fee, you can have a a dual-mode WiFi / Cellular telephone.  While at home, or at a friends home, or in any of the many Orange (and Orange partner) hotspots throughout France, the calls are no additional charge.  Wander out of WiFi range, and it’s just a standard cellular call.

Orange has parlayed their cellular strength into DSL and an assault on the residential fixed line.  It is, frankly, an unbelievable bargain for the customer. 

So, is Skype subverting T-Mobile, or… perhaps it’s T-Mobile getting the better end of the bargain.  Perhaps T-Mobile wants to duplicate Orange’s successes in Europe, but with Skype.  However you look at it, though, customers are getting the best deal. 

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy Abramson December 26, 2006 at 1:17 pm

Alec,

The Orange play is a way to keep customers from going to Free. But I will admit, their hotspot network in France is amazing.

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Moshe Maeir December 27, 2006 at 6:42 pm

Wifi phones still have a long way to go before they compete with cellphones. I had a wifi phone. Sure it was cool to use, but too much of a hassle. Find a hotspot. Hope it is “open”. Log on and make a call…. compare that to a cellphone that you just pick up and dial.

ease of use and mobility are the critical factors and they just are not here – yet.

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Diana Whitley April 18, 2007 at 6:36 am

Hi Alec,

My name is Diana. You don't know me, I hate to intrude on your blog like this, but I want to find out more about how people use SKYPE, and I don't know anyone who uses it. Could you help me? I have about 5 minutes worth of questions to ask if you have the time, and I'll buy you a cup of coffee for your trouble!

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