Minute stealing moves the sale of telephone calls from the retail side of one phone company to the wholesale side of either the same telco or another. Om's report today on Jajh, Mig33 and others shows that the upstarts like Migg33, Jajah and a few others are into propelling what I'm labeling the MS Shift.
Om's comment about calling cards is very accurate. The marketers of those inexpensive plays are still raking in big bucks and did all this without any venture funding, and likely have a far higher ROI than the venture backed companies. But under the hood there are differences.
Companies like Migg33 are about community and gives their members benefits like calling for less. Jajah simply uses web based technology to shift how callback works. In the world of Minute Stealing (which is not a bad thing) ease of use, familiarity and of course price drives adoption, but more than price is needed to sustain growth.
The major telcos have a lot of room to lower price. They've proven they can grow and merge and introduce new services. The cable MSO's are not standing still either. And in some parts of the world upstarts like FREE are offering more bang for the buck by doing more for a lot less.
In my book we're not done seeing the end of the price drop for minutes, but we are seeing the end of where profits are found simply in minutes. Smarter companies like Migg33 and client Mobivox (as Alec Saunders pointed to) are able to leverage minutes to benefit their community members with added features and more than just minutes vs. a Jajah which only has people who want more for less. In the long run using minutes as a loss leader will be the coin of the realm, not simply minutes for minutes sake, because of what I've labeled the "no-loyalty" crowds modus operandi.
That crowd goes to whomever offers free next.