myskypephone

Skype, the internet phone service, is all about disruption.

I remember thinking, when I first started using Skype back in 2004, that here’s a small, nimble company that will drive a massive wedge into traditional telephone service business models.

From a user perspective, the model is dead simple and highly compelling – free phone calls via your computer to other users of the service, and very low cost calls via your computer to ‘normal’ telephone numbers, literally anywhere on the planet.

Skype (and its later competitors) has changed the way millions of people around the world communicate where prohibitive costs of using a phone service are no longer a huge barrier – a barrier erected by the big telecommunications operators.

Arguably, Skype has played a not insignificant role in the changes we’ve seen in the past few years in many countries, notably in Europe and North America, with those very same telecommunications companies, what they offer, and how they price it.

Parallel to all this are continuing advances in technology, especially the rapid growth in broadband internet penetration in many countries and changes in people’s behaviors in terms of what they want, how they want it and when they want it.

This is especially the case with the so-called digital natives, the younger generation who dictate change through their own insistent and influential behaviours.

There’s no better way at the moment to drive this point home about changing behaviours (and expectations) than The Rise of the Mobile Super User, a thought-provoking 49-page white paper written by Will Harris and available on free download from Edelman.

These reflections were going through my mind yesterday during the press launch of the Skypephone (pictured above), a joint offering from Skype and UK mobile operator 3, which I attended.

It says to me – this changes everything.

We’re moving up a big notch, from broadband tied to computers and so the geographical restrictions on the things you can do (like make and receive free phone calls), to broadband untied, on mobile devices.

Some would argue that this isn’t new – you can get net access on mobile phones already, and have been able to for some years; and, depending on the device, install and use Skype.

True, but not like this.