Thursday, 27 January 2011

Skype Charges for iNum +883 Calls

Lately I've been blogging a lot about calling to +883 global  iNum phone numbers - for free.  I've talked about how "most" well known VoIP services now provide iNums to their customers and route world-wide calls to iNum phone numbers - for free.

The one exception to the "free" rule that stands out for me is the name.... Skype.
Skype charges 1.9¢/min. (U.S.), plus their standard connection fee (4.9¢), to connect to +883 iNum numbers.
As far as I know, even their unlimited plans are not exempt from this charge to +883 numbers.

This really surprises me.  Why?
Because iNums are routed over the Internet.... similar to email... for free.  iNums do not route through PSTN telephone networks like landline phone calls and thus are not subject to the same mega-profit charges of the Telco's.

It is my understanding that the iNum initiative would like to invite all PSTN landline CLECs (competative local exchange carriers) and ILECs (incumbent local exchange carriers) to participate in the iNum initiative to at least route iNum calls for a low nominal fee.  This is a reasonable expectation and would help in the interconnection of iNums through all telephone exchanges throughout the world at very low cost to all involved.

But, Skype is an entity of another color.  Skype is an Internet based service.  After all, how is it that Skype can provide calls between all Skype users... for free?  Because those calls are routed over the..... Internet.

However, when Skype routes calls to a PSTN landline, it is reasonable for them to charge a small nominal fee for interconnecting to landlines.  After all, they have to pay a fee to "Ma Bell" to terminate through the PSTN network.  And, like everyone else, it's reasonable for Skype to make a modest profit in the process.  But, not for calls routed over the Internet that also terminate over the Internet and related VoIP carriers.

I just don't get Skype's rationale for charging a fee for routing calls that are essentially free to route over the Internet.  I hope they come to their ¢ and rethink this strategy...

Update: (March 20, 2013)
Here it is, over two years later and Skype is still charging for iNum +883 calls while more and more VSP's around the world are joining in on routing iNum calls for free.  And, Skype is still charging a 4.9¢ connection fee.... for iNum calls, too.