Telecom companies have long held dominance over the way we communicate, specifically by controlling phone calls. The Internet is threatening to change this entirely – email and social media have made phone calls less essential, while services like Skype are making it possible to have chats and conference calls through the web as well.
Skype is the major factor that threatens to bring telecoms down – this amazing company uses the web to allow customers to speak to each other via their accounts. Video calls are available as is chat and the ability to share computer screens. This is incredibly useful, and allows people to communicate easily and affordably despite great distances. The application has recently extended to smart phones, eating even further into a market that was previously dominated by telecoms.
There are two key factors which should protect telecoms. First of all, people are resistant to change, and even if Skype is a better service it doesn’t mean everyone will embrace it. After all everybody has a phone, but many people still don’t have computers. The data allowance of smart phone users will also limit the pick-up of Skype: if customers can secure larger data packages for their phones they will be able to do all their calls through the web. We are unlikely to see this become feasible until the deployment of 4G networks.
Skype has posed a major challenge to traditional telecom companies by threatening the phone call. A few key factors should slow down the rate of adoption, yet the affordability and convenience of Skype means that it will eventually come to dominate the market – it is only a matter of time.