Skype and mobile phone distributor Brightpoint have just announced a preliminary agreement that, which if finalized,will really alter the consumer and SOHO VoIP landscape.
If and when all the t's are crossed, in Brightpoint will promote Skype products and premium services through its retail and dealer channels. These include big box retailers, hot spots, copy and shipping retailers, mall kiosks and university bookstores.
I can see it now- Skype coupons for services such as SkypeOut and SkypeIn distributed at the campus book barn, or from shopping mall carts. And, maybe even CDs with pre-loaded Skype and a specific ID that when you use the CD to go online and register, you get a specific amount of SkypeOut credits.
Broadband expert Om Malik sees more market-driven forces at work. On his blog, he says he believes that Skype's viral marketing program "is running out of gas, and the company realizes that it needs to step-up the marketing if it needs to trump other VoIP rivals."
Om adds another key reason for this initiative: (Skype) "should and must be worried about cellular companies' VoIP plans."
He's right. Cell companies already market to college students and mall shoppers, and have both the subscriber base and the in-person channels to do this for VoIP.