Douwe Osinga's Blog: Skype hype

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Yeah, I know, I’m late to the party. But I finally installed Skype, the latest (probably not even anymore) in Internet Telephony. I love it. I played around with Internet Telephony eight years ago or so and back then it wasn’t too great, which much have lingered in my mind and made me skeptical.


Competition in internal markets is not one of Switzerland’s fortes and this explains to some extend why things are relatively more expensive here. Often times there are only two or three suppliers for a product and they usually charge about the same price for about the same product. Calling the Netherlands with Swiss telecom will set you back 25 rappen per minute, about 16.5 euro cent. Calling Switzerland from the Netherlands on the national carrier will cost you 10 cent. The difference might not seem to big, but look at the discounters. Sunrise, the cheapest Swiss company, also charges about 10 euro cents per minute. The cheapest Dutch company charges 3.5 cents per minute. That’s a huge saving.


Skype allows you to make phone calls from a computer to ordinary phones for 1.7 cents, which is far enough from 10 cents to give it a try and like I said it worked like a dream. Which brings met to the question whether I need a land line. So far our land line was mostly used for International calls – cell phone users pay a lot more, usually, but if Skype takes out International of the equation, what is left?


But the whole thing makes you wonder why the Swiss (and people in general) put up with it? Why do people think protecting their own industry is a good thing? I mean, it sounds nice, but it just means letting your own industry overcharging you. Paying more for basic services to keep the local fat cats in a job, it is a concept that is surprisingly popular among left leaning thinkers.


By the way, my skype id is DOsinga.