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Skype Subverts T-Mobile

Many a writer, analyst and blogger have put the label of “disruptive” on Skype.

I think NOT.

The proper term, as I have said before is “subversive” and what the following will prove and point to that exact claim. Now for those who don’t see the fine points of differentiation, disruptors upset the status quo. Michael Robertson at SipPhone, best known for is an example of a premiere disruptor. Subversive types do an Al- Quada  type 9-11 unexpected attack and profit from it.

That’s exactly the category that Skype has to be taken in and always should be.

Not only did Skype set out to disrupt the market, something they have done, but with three independent moves, or what only on the surface would appear to be independent, Skype has subverted their own promotional partner, T-Mobile in a masterful way that I applaud.

Let me first give you the ingredients to this explosive recipe that is clearly inspired by one part “Alchemist’s Cookbook” and another part “Mini Manual For The Urban Guerilla” . The execution is pure asymmetrical marketing, a concept I not only subscribe to but applaud when I see it as it not only on the surface appears to be disruptive, but in the end subverts the very nature of the T-Mobile relationship.

It is pure genius and what’s more unless you looked at the sum of the parts, on the surface everything seems to be just what it is.

But it’s not.

Here are the ingredients

1)    Skype on Sony Mylo available for $349.00 at Best Buy
2)    Skype/T-Mobile Hotspot Free Access For a Year Promotion With The Mylo Upgrade NO CHARGE
3)    Skype Unlimited Calling for $14.95 for one year 

So what does this mean?

Well for starters for the crowd that goes to Starbucks with a cell phone, for what amounts to $365.00 you can make unlimited calls to your friends now who aren’t on Skype with a the Mylo which is also a very useful PDA, music player and lightweight web browse. You add in the free calling and all of a sudden for the hotspot connected, no-need for a mobile phone crowd, the same crowd that Earthlink covets and wants to attract, and you have the very first real salvo at the mobile phone industry, and in true subversive fashion, Skype used the industry’s own infrastructure, or at least T-Mobile’s for their very mission delivery vehicle. If you already have a Mylo this means it stops being a paper weight.

I’m not sure if Sony was a party to the Skype “Pearl Harbor” move on T-Mobile, but as someone who appreciates great execution in marketing, this is one for the books in how to take independent pieces of non-volatile elements and make something up that pure incendiary.


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I think the most disruptive part of skype most people do not see. They have basically opened up the ip channel to application developers with the app2app api. I know yahoo, microsoft, and google talk have similar apis, but with skypes, you can develop your own custom messaging with the raw sockets.

I have an app at that will be released in the next month that takes advantage of such apis and uses a hybrid p2p model that relies on the skype channel only for light weight message cross talk, and another non skype channel for the workhorse sending and receiving of binary streams.


do you think t-mobile doesn't know what is going on? the assumption that operators are big, dumb frogs just waiting for the warm water to boil has never ceased to amaze me. the "disrupter" label is being thrown around way to much in these web 2.0 or whatever version we are on days. SIP calling could be ended overnight by a simple tweak to the SIM. why do you think skype announced sans details, that skype mobile was going to be delayed? mylo works i suspect because the USIM is authenticating access to the network. if that is happening then the operator is allowing it to happen or just doesn't care and wants to see what happens. probably the latter. all these "free mobile" companies are about as disruptive as long distance callback cards were back in the early 90s. its a big race to the bottom. the more interesting disruption will come when folks like BT rollout dual wifi & 2G/3G (femtocell) hubs as part of standard BT Broadband here in the UK. imagine using your subsidized (FREE) sony ericsson handset form vodafone on the street and then walking into your home and office and roaming onto your BT broadband connection and making a call from your standard mobile phone over their IP backbone. - now that's disruptive. you will see others doing the same thing - check out O2 & BE, etc, etc.


If T-Mobile finds Skype so disruptive I wonder why they are one of the first advertisers on The Venice project .


I would not be surprised if the "Apple Phone" is another version of this (with iTunes, of course).

It's the only way Apple can maintain the $0.99 a tune.

The thing that is amazing is that Sony pulled off the T-Mobile deal. That's what makes this so interesting.

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