With the turbulent migration to VoIP occurring in 2006, it will be interesting to track usage and subscriber data to support the impact of VoIP and Voice 2.0 business models. A couple of items that appeared this week:
Skype vs Vonage in the UK: Heather Hopkins of Hitwise, an online Internet usage monitoring service, has reported on Skype, Bebo and Vonage — Why Skype Visits are Through the Roof. Her chart that results from tracking visits to websites for each demonstrates how UK visits to Skype have climbed from ~1% of UK site visits in early February to 6.9% mid-May while Vonage has stagnated in the 0.8% range. And this happened in a market with no free SkypeOut! Score one for market penetration by a Voice 2.0 business model.
Earlier this week I reported on the $15 million funding of Bebo, a social network with 24 million members predominantly in the European market and Andrew Hansen’s observation as to how Skype support was probably a factor in their financing success. Heather goes on in her post to report on how Bebo is responsible for over 50% of the upstream sources for visits to Skype. And this number has increased with a Bebo-Skype partnership tied into the launch of Skypecasts. A Voice 2.0 application driving adoption and market penetration in the social networking space.
Acknowledgement to Mathew Ingram for the post that brought my attention to Heather’s post through the Comments.
Telus – a legacy Canadian telco in transition: Jon Arnold has posted some numbers provided at the Telus President’s Symposium held last Thursday in Toronto. Telus is the primary (and legacy) telco in Alberta and British Columbia and has a very successful national mobile network in Telus Mobility. They have a reputation for rapidly introducing new technology — they were the first to have an EV-DO offering in major Canadian metropolitan markets; also they went through a strike last summer that was essentially about transitioning labor costs to a level consistent with a Voice 2.0 business model. Telus has continued to be profitable; their stock price has risen over fivefold since mid-2003.
This is the picture of a telco successfully transitioning to a Voice 2.0 model reflecting the value is in applications (as opposed to access and directory) where:
- Talk is the baseline through provision of connectivity and directory services, yet
- The meter is going off — as evidenced by their reduced long distance activity and the reduced reliability on voice for revenues.
- Applications (as evidenced by their increasing reliance on Data and Wireless) are becoming the value creators.