Skype partners with Telkomsel to bring cheap calls and free text to 100 million subscribers
Skype just announced on its blog that it is partnering with Telkomsel to provide Skype services on Telkomsel's handsets. Telkomsel is Indonesia's leading mobile operator with around 100 million subscribers. The partnership will allow Telkomsel subscribers to call international landlines and mobiles using Skype rates as well as participate in conference calls through Skype.
Initially, Skype will be available on 24 Telkomsel smartphones which include Nokia, LG, Samsung, and BlackBerry and it will eventually roll out services to lower end J2ME phones. Telkomsel subscribers will require an active data package to be able to use Skype.
Aside from what had been announced, it is unclear as to what exactly is involved in this partnership. Given that there's no mention of iPhone or iPad, one would assume that Skype and Telkomsel's partnership means having a built in Skype app in the phones that Telkomsel bundles with its data package.
Since prepaid phones make up for the majority of Indonesia's mobile market, it remains to be seen what this deal means for those who bought their phones outside of Telkomsel. In other words, there's no word as to whether whatever this deal may bring would apply to customers who simply bought a prepaid Telkomsel SIM card.
Given our story today on Indonesia having the world's 10th largest number of 3G subscribers with 27 million at only 12% penetration rate with a 40% year on year growth, it's little wonder that data packages are getting very popular in this country, especially in major cities.
Skype would benefit from having this exposure to Telkomsel's large pool of subscribers while this deal might also push the uptake in usage and subscription of data packages.