I’ve just been interviewed by SBS TV for a segment on Skype, which will air on their World News tonight at 6:30pm. There was no particular news that prompted the segment, which simply looks at what Skype is, and in particular how it is impacts the telecommunications industry.
In the interview I repeatedly emphasized how telecommunications companies have for over a century dramatically overcharged for communication, holding back progress, business, and personal relationships. Only now that there is a free alternative are international phone calls getting a fraction closer to their actual cost. Connectivity is a human and social right, which fortunately is now available to anyone with an Internet connection or who can afford 30 minutes in an Internet café. In order for telecommunications companies to continue to be as vastly profitable as they have over the years, they must find news ways of creating value. One way is to add value to the basic connectivity services they provide. Another is to shift into adjacent businesses such as content, services, or to leverage their existing relationships into new areas.
Last year I wrote about some of the strategic issues for how telecommunications firms reposition themselves, in the context of mobile search. I’ll expand on this theme anon.