3’s Skype offer has lowered churn, increased customer numbers and driven up revenue, figures show a year after the deal was inked.
The deal’s success confounds predictions that it would cannibalise 3’s voice revenues by allowing customers to make free Skype to Skype calls on the network. In fact, figures show 3 is gaining 60% more voice revenue from Skype users.
Revealing the results in an interview with Mobile, Skype market development director EMEA, Enrico Noseda, said: ‘Our deal with 3 has been extremely successful. There is great satisfaction on both sides.’
The research, carried out by CCS Insight analyst Tom Reuner, shows that 79% of 3’s Skype users are new to 3 and that 3’s Skype users deliver 20% higher revenues and a 14% lower churn rate than its non-Skype users.
Noseda said the results challenge the perception that Skype users are looking to save rather than spend. ‘This is evidence that Skype is an opportunity rather than a threat to carriers. Skype users are clearly much more active communicators than non-Skype users. These results show Skype is a good driver of acquisitions – we drive more revenue and higher loyalty.’
Noseda said Skype would play an important role for operators as voice revenues decline. He explained: ‘As carriers move from voice to mobile data – we are an important player in driving the adoption of mobile data.’
However, Noseda said a deal with another operator in the UK was unlikely. ‘I am not sure we would go ahead with different players in one country,’ he said.
Meanwhile, new deals with handset manufacturers are on the cards, Noseda said, adding that Skype’s focus is centred on Android manufacturers.
Skype is currently developing a ‘Skype for Android’ application in the wake of its recent launch of ‘Skype for Symbian’ and the inclusion of Skype on iPhones. Noseda declined to reveal the launch date of its Android application but said it would be ‘soon’.
Combined, that opens up a market of 200 million handsets on which Skype can be used, Noseda said.
Skype to Skype calls will be charged
Skype to Skype calls on 3G will be charged from next year, Skype has revealed.
The move has prompted a deluge of complaints from angry customers accusing the company of breaking its pledge of ‘free Skype to Skype calls forever’.
The move is outlined on Skype’s website. The company states: ‘Over the coming months we’ll be working out what pricing options might be – in the meantime Skype to Skype calls on 3G will be free until the end of 2010.’
Customers slammed the decision, voicing their opposition on the Skype website.
One said: ‘To charge for Skype to Skype calls over 3G when Wi-Fi calls are free is ridiculous and outrageous. It’s like websites charging us a fee when visiting their pages over 3G compared to regular internet. Data is data regardless of how you are accessing it and we are already paying the data provider for it.’
Another said: ‘I ask that your company review this decision. Go on the Skype forums to see all your users who are angry over this.’
Noseda defended the move. He told Mobile: ‘At the end of the day we need to invest in innovative and high value products and this is a way of funding development.’
He added: ‘We have not concluded pricing – but we do tend to listen to our customers.’