Is Skype NOT VoIP?

Business Contact is a 3-monthly IT-magazine for Small Businesses in Belgium. It is a completely free and commercial magazine. Their September number has an article on VoIP. I translated the title, and the first paragraph from Dutch:

What is VoIP?"

"Let us first tell what it isn’t: it isn’t free World-wide calls, it isn’t Skype™, it isn’t being able to call only those people who also have VoIP, it is not restricted, you don’t loose all the possibilities of your telephone switchboard and your current infrastructure doesn’t have to be thrown away immediately.

Funny! Skype is VoIP, is free, i can call other people who don’t have VoIP, i have no telephone switchboard, and the day Skype will offer Belgian SkypeIn numbers, i could throw away my current subscription to my telephone company and even the PSTN phones i have.

One of the partners of the magazine is Belgacom, the biggest and former public phone company of the country :-)


SMS: "ç" = pay twice!

Yesterday i did send an SMS to a German mobile. I was entitled to 160 characters! This should cost 0.102 €. I was confident in the length of the message, until I did send it: the message was cut into 3 messages and did cost me 0.306 €. I tried again to discover what was wrong, and this time a shorter message was cut in two pieces, costing me double the expected price. See the screenshots …

What happened?
Look at the screenshot of the SMS input window below, 38 characters are left.And when I type “ç” (a character used in Portuguese, French and some other languages) this does cost me a second SMS with only 11 characters left!

The same night the girl I did send the SMS to showed me the result on her mobile: they had arrived in reverse order! Hmmmmm … difficult to read!
I tried some other funny characters, and this is the result
ã – ç – û – ë – õ = dangerous characters
é – à – ù – ö – è = seem to be OK
Some characters are very expensive!
Skype 2.6 is definitely still “beta”!


Skype bewitched?

Weird, weird, weird …
See my previous post!

Today another strange phenomenon, see the blue curve in the green ellipse in the Skype Downloads graph!

Come on Skype, explain!!!!

But we reached another all times world record of concurrent users online: 7.807.694!

This screenshot was again taken from http://nyanyan.to/


Again plunging down?

Today again a dip in the number of users online just at or before daily “peak GMT time”. Weird! When will Skype explain this phenomenon? (Image captured from http://nyanyan.to).

See also my previous posts here and here.


210 million US$ in 2006

eBay published its quarterly results, and provided some details concerning the revenues of their “Communications” branch, therefore Skype. The 3 first quarters generated a net revenue of almost 130 millions US$.
The graph below shows the sequential purchase order numbers of Skype. In the 3 first quarters about 29.5 million orders were generated. This means (after a correction of 5 million for “strange jumps”, see below) a mean value per purchase order of 5.3 US$.
I guess (from the graph) that about 15 million new orders will be generated in the fourth quarter, what could correspond to 80 million US$ revenue. The yearly net revenue of Skype should therefore be around 210 million US$ by the end of the year.

Some comments on the orders:
  • Order numbers concern real purchases like SkypeOut minutes, SkypeIn subscriptions, Skype Voicemail, etc.
  • But also “no purchases” like vouchers, gifts (from Skype to some of its customers), allocations to Skype Group members*, cancelled or rejected purchases, balance expirations**, etc.
  • There have been in Quarter One two strange “brutal” jumps of 3 million and 2 million purchases “at once” (slightly visible on the graph). This is probably due to spambots.
  • Allocations to members of Skype Groups (with zero revenue) represent about 400 thousand purchase order numbers in the three first quarters. They also get a sequential number. You can find it when looking at the “Expenditure List” in your Administration Page of the Skype Account.
* allocations are transfers of Skype credit from one Skype account to another Skype account.
** when a Skype customer doesn’t place any SkypeOut calls during a period of 6 months his Skype credits are “erased”, being a net revenue for Skype.


Slow growth :-(

Where is the growth of Skype? eBay must be biting its nails! The graph below shows only new record “peak times” of users online since the beginning of September, and it clearly shows a strong slowdown of growth – but still growth – of concurrent users online.
Peak time happens between 14h and 15h GMT, and only on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Thursday to Sunday, the numbers of users online go steadily down: weekend!
Looking at the numbers of the table below, the weekly increase of users online is slowing down dramatically. From a peak weekly growth of about 172.000 users online in week 38 (3th week of September) to only 47.500 this week (week 41)!
Users online is not the only indicator of revenue growth of Skype of course! In fact, it isn’t a good indicator at all, because most users online use Skype for the free calls and chat. Skype certified products, SkypeOut, SkypeIn, etc. are the indicators. I hope those numbers will be provided when eBay publishes quarterly results!

And "again again" on a Wednesday: a new Skype client version!


Asia versus USA & Europe

Discussions go on if the number of Asian Skype Users is growing faster than Europeans or Americans. I had a discussion this afternoon with Hudson on this topic. What is better than a graph? I compared “concurrent users online” for two dates in 2006, with a date in 2005. See below … (Thanks to nyanyan.to for the data of today).

On the superposed graphs you can see that when Europeans and Americans are sleeping the number of Asians awake and using Skype is much lower!

In my opinion the proportional growth of concurrent users online in the different continents are about the same as in the past! However, the proportion of highest number of users online divided by lowest seems to have decreased somewhat, see the next table.

In absolute numbers, the graphs above seem to demonstrate that Europe continues to grow faster than other continents!

And again on a Wednesday: a new Skype client version!