Sunday, June 12, 2011

Telus and Microsoft Team up to Offer Skype Phones.

Telus, (TSE: T), realizing the growth in the market for data fees on its cellular network, is teaming up with Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Skype to permit smartphone users to use the once derided service.
The partnership, announced this week, is the first such partnership to exist in Canada. Previously, carriers, such as Telus, Bell, and Rogers, had feared allowing Skype to be used on their networks because it has the potential of reducing their revenues, especially for long-distance calls. But the rapidly changing landscape of the telecommunications industry, with the advent of social networking and text-messaging, has forced carriers to consider new ways to ensure that customers stay tied to their telephones in an era of less voice communication. 
To be released this summer, the Skype branded phone will be an LG Optimus Black phone that comes pre-loaded with international Skype calling credits for users to enjoy. Of course, as many users of Skype already know, Skype-to-Skype calls will be free, but traditional calls to other carriers will require a monthly subscription or a per-minute payment. 
Some benefits that Telus customers will enjoy with the new Skype plan will be having Skype credits added directly to their Telus bills and free technical support to help Telus customers use Skype.
Of course, to utilize the Skype service, a conventional Telus plan is still required... so they are not losing anything here, it will generally only be a net-addition to total revenues as there is undoubtedly a revenue sharing agreement between both Microsoft and Telus. 
The conclusion for the Intelligent Investor: A big thumbs up to both Telus and Microsoft on this one. A great new revenue stream for both of them in an era of intense and ever-increasing competition. It allows both of them to offer something new and different in a highly crowded marketplace.

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