Skype, VoIP Honeymoon over?

11 Comments

Every new technology goes through a phase, where the sheer newness makes early adopters like myself put-up with all sorts of bugs. Hey that’s all part of living on the bleeding edge – you will bleed a little. Actually first couple of million users will put up with any kind of crap. Remember cellphones back in 1980s? I have put up with poor performing VoIP services for one simple reason – they keep improving and well teach me a vital lesson in patience. But as the popularity of VoIP continues to surge – check out all those new companies at upcoming VoN – I have a feeling that the honeymoon phase for the technology is over.

Vonage is having problems with other phone companies. A few people have told me they have to wait too long for getting customer support, or have them address billing questions. Which is quite understandable since the company is growing faster than mushrooms after a monsoon shower.

Yesterday, Skype’s problems became buzz of the moment after C/Net posted a story. Which actually I think might have been inspired by this post by Neville Hobson, who posted problems with SkpeOut almost ten days ago. Many others have been bitching about this for a while over on Skype Forums. The problems are about billing and support services.

Much as we like to bitch and moan about the incumbents, they do get the backend part right. For any new technology to succeed, there is a need for a special focus on backend and making sure that the customers are happy. Skype for instance is adding new partners by the day, but I fear that their infrastructure and support costs are going to go through the roof. And given how little their margins are, I am once again left shaking my head.

11 Comments

r.hafley

VONAGE Tel. Comp ( A REAL SCAM -FLIM-FLAM – OPERATION – With telephone “BOILER-ROOM ” – Operating out of Alhambra, Ca.- They promised & Advertise that I could keep my telephone No. ( I had for over 30 years ) BUT , as soon as I hooked up their ” ADAPTER’ THEY CALL A GIZMO , My long time No. went into cyber space – never to be returned to me again. My tel. compantis informed me it is lost forever… This leads me to believe that VONAGE, also SUNROCKET digetal telephone service, and Global Crossing do have thier problems with the big name companies. — THey are spending several millions of dollers advertising this false information to the unsuspecting public … I thought you could pass this along to your readers.Please, send me a copy of the above comments.

Drew

I just got skype a few days ago and it’s the best kept secret out there. I’ve looked at several paid plans and for the money (actually free) skype has them all beat hands down.

Om Malik

I don’t know if the subscription model makes sense as of right now. unless the whole transport business and the interconnect business is transparent. it would be difficult to make the subscription model work

aswath

Skype keeps the entry cost low with per minute tariff. But then it is faced with ongoing customer support problems and potential dispute arbitration which grows with the customer base. Contrast this with subscription model (see the post by Tom Evslin). It will be interesting to see how this model fares, now that Teleo is also using this model.

By the way some of the Bellheads suggested the subscription model some 20 years back but was rejected by Ma invoking political reality.

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