Skype launches direct carrier billing in Russia, soon will bring it to U.S.

Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Skype unit launched a new program to support direct carrier billing for Skype mobile VoIP credits in Russia, and the company said it will bring the service to the United States as well.

Skype is teaming with Mach, a company that specializes in direct operator billing, to deliver the service, giving carriers a cut of the revenue Skype generates. The decision is a step toward reversing the trend that has prevailed during the past several years as Skype and other VoIP and over-the-top messaging providers have cut into carriers' traditional calling and messaging revenue. 

With the new payment option, Skype users can purchase Skype Credit from their mobile devices through a browser-based transaction that the company said is secure, seamless and convenient. They can then pay either as part of their monthly cell phone bill or using their mobile carrier's prepaid account balance. The service is now available in Russia.

A Mach spokeswoman told GigaOM the same arrangement will be extended to Skype users in the United States and Canada later this month, with more countries to follow. Mach will team with payvia, a mobile and online payments company, to connect directly with U.S. carriers. It is unclear how much of a cut operators will get or which ones will participate. As GigaOM notes, Mach lists Orange, Telefónica, T-Mobile, Telus and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) as customers.

This is not the first time that Skype has cozied up to wireless carriers. In 2010 the company struck  a deal with Verizon to launch a custom Skype Mobile application for smartphones, which was later extended to non-smartphones.

For more:
- see this release
- see this GigaOM article
- see this WSJ blog post (sub. req.)
- see this Engadget article

Related Articles:
Report: Mobile VoIP users to reach 1 billion by 2017
Skype for Windows Phone 8 update disables People Hub integration
Skype users gain free Wi-Fi access across UK, Ireland
Survey: Half of smartphone owners use IM, OTT messaging apps
Microsoft launches Skype for Windows Phone but skips low-end devices
Microsoft acquires Skype for $8.5B in cash

Sponsored by ADI

What if we were always connected? With the help of our advanced wireless technology, even people in the most remote places could always be in touch.

What if there were no ocean, desert, mountain or event that could ever keep us from telling our stories, sharing discoveries or asking for help? ADI’s next-gen communications technology could keep all of us connected.

Suggested Articles

Vodafone Business is building on its edge compute partnership with AWS, launching its its first commercial 5G MEC center in London next spring.

Is there a better mousetrap in terms of macrocell deployment? Facebook Connectivity thinks so.

Speaking at a FierceWireless 5G event this week, a T-Mobile executive said massive MIMO technology is applicable in TDD and FDD domains.