Daiwa EuroTelcoblog No. 42, Thursday 20th May, 2004 - SkypeOut = breakout to the PSTN
One of our sources in the field has reported that at the VON Canada show on Tuesday, Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom publicly announced the launch of SkypeOut, a service which allows Skype users to place calls to the PSTN. We heard about this concept from the company some time back, and have received a test call using the solution, which sounded indistinguishable from a normal PSTN call. There doesn't seem to have been much reporting of this yet as far as we can see besides this article from the Mercury News (http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/business/8701585.htm), but it might serve as a wakeup call to some within the industry who have been dismissive of the service as a closed community (and of closed VoIP systems generally). Details are sketchy at present, but our original impression was that the service would involve a pre-paid system, and we expect this may still be the case. Apparently Skype has signed agreements with two as-yet unnamed telco partners to begin terminating on the PSTN from this summer, and there is also reportedly a subscription service in the works which will allow users to have a geographical number and to receive incoming calls from the PSTN. More as the story emerges.