There was a time when mobile phones were not that big and not everyone had one. Now in this time and age you will find that more and more people are giving up their land lines for the convince of mobile phones. As with everything times change and new ways to communicate are introduced. Right now the wireless industry is fighting to keep up with the times as Skype like services are introduced and gives users the freedoms that minute plans do not.
Many services like Skype and Google Voice gives users the abilities to make phone calls, send text messages and even video chat for free or very low prices and wireless industries are having to adapt to these new changes in communications. At the moment voice and data traffic are on two separate networks and accordingly subscribers must pay for each service, whether they are bundled or separate it can be a hefty cost. According to industry executives this could change in the future and all mobile services such as voice and text will start moving over the same network verse the two separate networks that they are on now.
Recently, big time company Microsoft place an $8.5 billion dollar bid to by Skype. Skype is a software application that allows users to make calls, video chat, and send text messages all online. Services like Skype can cut into the carriers’ profit due to the fact that services like Skype offer easy ways to be able to make phone calls, have video chats, and send messages for free over the Internet.
According to an executive at Verizon Wireless, who is developing services and products for their 4G high speed network, Brian Higgins,“Eventually, everything migrates to a data channel. We’re moving away from silos of communication to one where everything is combined together.”
Many analysts are agreeing that Microsoft is not out to steal business from the wireless industry, instead they are trying to bring themselves back to life by jumping on the possibility of being able to create software for smartphones and tablets with the Skype services already built in. Microsoft will need the help from wireless companies like Verizon and AT&T to jump on board behind the devices capabilities and appeal to consumers.
However, this Skype deal also signifies a bigger picture where larger interest will be taken in the next generation of communications. Skype is not the only application out there that provides these types of services, new ones are being added very quickly. WhatsApp, Kik, GroupMe and textPlus all allow users to send messages over a data network which helps in saving money when it comes to wireless providers fees for these same services.
Carriers have already have to combat many competitors in the communications field like Apple, Google, and even the social networking site Facebook which are all making the services available that at one point and time were only available to carriers.
Charles S. Golvin, a telecom analyst with Forrester Research stated, “Much of the value in communication now sits above basic connectivity, things like IM, video calling like FaceTime, and Web conferencing. These are delivered to consumers by companies like Google, Apple and Cisco — not the carriers.”
One wireless carrier in the Netherlands is already feeling the impact of these services. KPN reported that they have forecasted and reported a ten percent decline in their quarterly revenue. According to Mr. Sharma this is an early indicator that this could happen elsewhere.
Over here in the United States, however, there have been no signs indicating that there has been a decline in either text messages or voice calls. Although there is evidence that revenue from voice services have been steadily dropping over the last four years. This in turn has caused carriers to have to lower rate plans and lean more heavily on unlimited plans versus the pay by minute plans.
Carriers are taking everything in stride though. Companies like Sprint have started jumping aboard some of these services. Sprint has united with Google to let their customers link their mobile number to their Google Voice number so all there phone lines and even Gmail will ring when someone places a call to them. Others like Verizon believe that there is plenty of money to be made from mobile data networks and the demand for data services will in turn drive up sells and the purchase of smartphones.
“There will be an increased appetite for devices that can access higher bandwidth, which I find very encouraging,” Mr. Higgins of Verizon said.