Skype is a free internet phone service. My friend Colin called me from France. Skype is free for calling from one Skype client to another. You run the client on your PC and then use the mic and speakers from your PC or laptop (or your cool Bluetooth headset).

The amazing thing is that Colin called me on my home number. I didn't have Skype installed. For just a few pennies a minute Colin was able to make an international phone call. According to Colin you just deposit about $10.00 with Skype and then you can make cheap calls to regular telephones.

Skype, and even Vonage, which I learned is supposed to be pronounced "Von'-Edge" (emphasis on the first syllable) - are great examples of viral marketing. They are so cool that you want to get your friends in on it. And the more friends you get in on it, the cheaper it gets, because any Skype-to-Skype or Vonage-to-Vonage phone call is free.

Likewise for most cellular services these days - in service calls (calls that stay within the cellular service) are free.

The thing is ... over 50% of American households now have broadband.

And there is really no reason to pay crazy long distance charges when you can use Vonage or Skype.

Regular telephone service is dead. It's just a matter of time, and not much time at that.

The complete destruction of a business is going to be something to see - it's going to be 10x worse than anything that is hitting the airlines now. It's as if matter transporters were invented. That would be the end of the airline business. Internet telephony (actually, any kind of packet-based telephony, including modern cell service) is destroying the old telephone business.

I have a friend that is spending $500.00 to $1000.00 a month on business calls. He switched to Vonage for the business rate of $50.00 a month. That's a 10x or 20x improvement! It was a no-brainer for him to risk the setup fee and try it out - he ordered it and a week later called me on his Vonage line.

It's incredible.

© 2004 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.