Skype Free – Does the Download Threaten Voice Telephony?

In the modern world of technology, there are plenty of ways to reach out to your loved ones free of cost.

Smartphones now run apps that let you make free calls to anyone, anywhere in the world. Skype and Viber are among many such free calling software that helps in reducing your phone bills. In fact, they are often seen as a threat by voice carriers and operators.

Is This Really a Threat?

While Skype and other similar apps do let you make free of cost calls to anyone, anywhere in the world, they utilize your phone’s data connection – in the absence of Wi-Fi, to do so. Users have to use their data or Wi-Fi networks for both calling and receiving calls. At average data realization costs, experts have pegged Skype calls to come at about 65% of the charge of regular voice calls. This means, even though Skype calls are free to make, they do cost us some amount of money in terms of the data or Wi-Fi usage.

Can Skype Replace Traditional Telephones?

Though it might sound possible, it is really difficult. For providing internet, traditional telephony is still required. There are also many regulatory hurdles that will prevent Skype from completely replacing traditional telephony. The telecom lobby is strong enough to keep free voice calling apps limited. These telecom operators have invested billions of dollars in creating networks, and therefore would never let their business and their investments come to harm. Besides, internet availability is still not strong enough all over the world, to allow for making free calls to any operator, or any location. Therefore the relevance of traditional telephony will be maintained.

Are There Quality Issues?

The quality issues are actually the most persistent deterrents to allowing free voice calling apps from becoming too powerful Call drops, blank spots and voice latency are usually problems experienced by those who use Skype and other free calling apps. 3G networking is still not a reality in many parts of the world. The connectivity of the network is still patchy in areas where it is already working. The call qualities are really bad on 2G networks and therefore require a more robust infrastructure before they can achieve their ambition of replacing traditional telephony. Smartphones, though popular, have also not yet reached everyone. Therefore, traditional telephony simply cannot be done away with.

Are Operators Losing Money?

Owing to the problems in connectivity and sub optimal call qualities, operators still have heavy businesses coming from traditional telephony. The differential between voice calls and data tariff is small enough for operators to not lose a lot of money. Though it is not a clear threat right now, with improvement in infrastructure, people would prefer making long distance calls using data connections and this would mean that the voice call tariff would not be recovered. That could lead to some loss for telephone operators and could be a threat to their business. How they decide to deal with this threat is anybody’s guess.

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