Skype and E-Plus take their cooperation serious, 2 months after both companies announced their cooperation (VoIP meets UMTS), this week E-Plus announced a Skype promotion, exclusively for their E-Plus UMTS Online Flat (which E-Plus announced three months ago).
From this week, new E-Plus UMTS Online Flat customers will get a free Skype starter-kit which includes a Skype CD-ROM with software as well as a headset to use Skype with any PC.
Customers which signed for a UMTS Online Flat plan already, can order the same package from E-Plus (see digital lifestyle mobile for more information) and since I've signed before already, I've dropped E-Plus the E-Mail, as they suggested.
Two days later (as a matter of fact today) I got my Skype starter-kit:
Unfortunately, the CD-ROM contains Skype in version 1.3, not the latest 1.4 version which comes with some major improvements and enhancements (see the change log here), so I recommend to kick the CD-ROM into the trash but downloading the latest Skype client from the web instead.
Nevertheless, that's an amazing (and free) promotion and both, E-Plus and Skype treats this VoIP-cooperation serious. While it is easy for Skype (potentially they are just adding a couple of new customers to their database) it's not that easy for a GSM and UMTS carrier like E-Plus. Voice is still the biggest business for carriers and ARPU-stream number one. To potentially substitute this ARPU-stream could become a risk for a carrier, as much as it can be a risk to introduce a flat data rate for GPRS and UMTS as E-Plus did also (as the first and only carrier in Germany).
From the user point of view, this cooperation is highly appreciated and I'm heavily using my E-Plus Online Flat fee (with both, my Notebook and my HTC Universal where my Universal acts as my wireless modem for the Notebook) to keep the::unwired and digital lifestyle mobile up to date as well as for plain web browsing, E-Mail, remote terminal and FTP. However, the future will shows what this cooperation brings and how the market will develop. But E-Plus and Skype opened definitely a door into a new century.
Cheers ~ Arne