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Monday, March 31, 2008

Should Skype Be Worried About Israel's Spikko?

It looks like another company may be positioning itself to dethrone the VoIP King, Skype. But unlike Jajah which hooks into one's email account, Spikko seeks to challenge eBay's chat program by presenting an alternative "business model."

(Globes Online) Spikko Ltd., a start-up that has been operating in stealth mode for three years, claims that it has found a way to offer free telephone calls and make a profit at it. The company's technology offers VoIP telephony services gratis for members. The only way to join the service is by invitation from an existing member. The service currently has 50,000 members. [...]

Spikko CEO Shay Gilboa: "Each user receives a local telephone number and an initial grant. For each incoming call, he receives credit to make an outgoing call by either landline or mobile. Each call goes to a computer, and will soon also go to a mobile telephone. The calls go to the devices' data channel, which means that the average payment (for airtime) will be no more than NIS 0.05 per minute, which will be collected by the cellular operator."

It will be interesting to see Skype reaction to this (that is if they actually consider them to be a serious threat). Currently Skype offers users various rates that range from two cents a minute to a quarter (and even more!).

Despite the high rates to other countries, Skype still seems to be cheaper in Israel than Spikko, although if the latter can keep its prices at a nickel a minuete (regardless of which country you call) we may see this author switch least when calling friends in India. ;-)

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