When I signed up for Skype about three years ago there were generally about one million people logged on at any given time. Now there are seldom fewer than 13 million. This explosive growth reflects consumers’ appreciation for the low cost of calls to landlines, not to mention free calls to other Skype users.
But, what does one do in the absence of internet or computer access? In South Africa, I’ve been using a service called Talking Point, which I access by calling a local cellphone number (084 198 0000). Talking Point routes the calls through some kind of VOIP service, so for the cost of a cellphone call I can make international calls. The voice prompts are really easy to follow (remember the “00” before the country code!).
One day we’ll all own Skype-enabled phones, but until then I’ll be using Talking Point.
(By the way, Skype is a great example for innovators to use when they’re pitching a new concept. Inevitably they’ll be asked why the established big players haven’t already made this particular creative leap. Simply mention that Skype wasn’t created by any of the telecommunications companies, and probably could never have been.)