2008-03-30

A country called Skype

According to a recent post of VoIP-News, a new telephone country code for VoIP users will be created. The company called VoxBone, based in Brussels, Belgium, succeeded in obtaining that number. It means that you could call any VoIP number from a classic telephone line by dialing 833 plus the VoIP number of your contact. Read the whole story here: Creating A Country Called VoIP.
Surprisingly, they say “The goal is that if you call someone on Skype, you dial 883 plus their number”. But, Skype accounts are not numbers, it are alphanumeric user names. This would mean the user name would have to be translated to a number.

Interesting, because – if true - anyone could call my Skype account from any cellular or PSTN phone and reach me wherever i am online and running Skype.

This could mean a new boost in Skype users, and consequently perhaps a new boost in the “revenue generating” voicemail feature of Skype. Indeed, although the Skype client is free, and Skype to Skype calls alike, for the voicemail you have to pay a subscription fee.

Or will Skype sell the VoIP numbers corresponding to the Skype user names? This could also generate revenue, but i think it would be a strategic mistake to ask customers to pay for their number. Revenue will be generated anyway, because the article says: "The carriers will have to pay Voxbone to complete the calls, and Voxbone will share those revenues with the VoIP companies."

[EDITED] Vincent made the following comment: “That is almost the same as SkypeIN, which exists since many years.
Yes, and no …
A SkypeIn number is "country dependent", and exists only for 21 countries! A “VoIP country” would be universal, no agreement needed between Skype and separate countries! Definitely an advantage, depending on the cost for calling the new country!

It seems that Skype already is preparing a flag for that new VoIP country! Two recently added hidden emoticons are and . The first one is the European Union flag: type (flag:eu) in your chat window, and the second one, well i guess you guess it … type (flag:ss) in the chat window!

9 comments:

Vincent said...

That is almost the same as SkypeIN, which exists since many years.

Jean Mercier said...

Vincent,

Thanks for the comment. You are partially right.

A SkypeIn number is "country dependent", and exists only for 21 countries!

A VoIP country would be universal, no agreement needed between Skype and separate countries!

Definitely an advantage, depending on the cost for calling the new country!

aaytch said...

Very interesting post, Jean. This goes well beyond SkypeIN. I agree with you, assuming the report is true, that it will have a huge impact on number of "real" Skype users and on the number of Skype "minutes".

You are probably right that a virtual number (883??) will be made available to Skypers. I don't think however that Skype will map the entire Skype cloud to virtual numbers... but I could be wrong. It makes more sense to lease numbers via a bundle like SkypePro, and then have a separate fee by the minute for incoming calls. This will provide a good incentive to tell your caller to get Skype and thereby relieve you of the extra charges.

Also, let's remember that virtual numbers are just another way of avoiding the transition to real Skype where we have lots of additional features such as presence, video, IM, file transfer, etc. In other words, it just illustrates how vastly superior Skype is to PSTN and to other VOIP services where voice is the only medium of communication. I have called this difference "CKIP" (pronounced like "skype") but whose meaning is "Cyber Kinetic IP" . See http://glimfeather.com/Borderless/Blogs/36646212.html

Markus Göbel's Tech News Comments said...

Skype already uses the +990 country code for such a purpose. Read:

Markus Göbel's Tech News Comments:
A free bridge from Skype to phone

http://www.goebel.net/technews/2008/03/free-bridge-from-skype-to-phone.html

Jean Mercier said...

Markus,

Thanks for your comment, but your "bridge" seems to be the other way around: people Skype (call from Skype) your Skype account, and your phone rings!

Or did i misunderstand?

Dean Collins said...

Re: Voxbones +833

What they dont tell you is that carriers retain the right to charge a premium to these numbers.....an unlimited premium.

Try checking call costs with your carrier to Libya or somewhere like this and then consider whether voip country codes are really a good idea.

Now Skype may have more leverage at bringing down the interconnect rates but only the itu-t can really enforce the successful implementation of this.


Cheers,
Dean Collins
http://www.Cognation.net

Jean Mercier said...

Hello Dean,
Thanks for the comment. But yes, they say they can charge: The carriers will have to pay Voxbone to complete the calls ....

Indeed you are right that if they charge the same fee as for calling to Lybia, this isn't interesting anymore.

But, let's wait and see!

Nikolay Filipov said...

(flag:ss) is an OLD emoticon. It exists in Skype from the time the national flags have been added as emoticons.

Jean Mercier said...

OK Nikolay, you could be right, but it was not available on the different websites where you could find the "complete" collection of emoticons and flags.

It was my youngest son who "discovered" this, and made me feel ashamed because he knew something about Skype that i didn't ;-)