No, it’s not the death of network neutrality – not yet anyway. Direct operator billing provider MACH has won itself a contract with Skype, under which users will be able to purchase Skype credit via their mobile phone bill or pre-paid account.
Skype hopes to use this to gain access to revenue it can’t lure into direct online spending in current markets from people who aren’t so inclined, and in parts of the world where it hasn’t managed to penetrate yet much at all.
The deal certainly makes sense from Skype’s point of view, even if it does seem like a bit of an awkward situation. Carriers would rather Skype not exist at all – having it on the bill may be acknowledging the inevitable but it can’t be a happy thought given how much revenue Skype takes out of the system these days.
And users like me who haven’t had a direct billing relationship with an incumbent local exchange carrier for many years aren’t likely to be terribly interested in rebuilding one either. I like paying for Skype services the way it is now.
But then, I have never understood the fascination people seem to have with paying for things via their phone carrier, whether by swiping their phone instead of a credit card or otherwise. I guess I’m just not as viscerally attached to my phone as I ought to be according to modern society, although on the other hand you’d have to surgically remove my fixed broadband connection.
For now though, it’s still vaporware as the offering won’t be ready for a month or two, and then they have to sign up carriers. Should be interesting to see who is first in line.
This article was authored by Rob Powell and was originally posted on Telecomramblings.com
Rob Powell is founder & editor of Telecom Ramblings, which was set up in 2008. The website is dedicated to discussing trends and developments in the telecom industry.