Global Economics

Sainsbury's and Skype in Sales Alliance

VoIP provider Skype has begun selling credit vouchers at Sainsbury's supermarkets across the UK.

Skype-certified handsets and headsets will also soon be appearing on the store's shelves as part of the tie-up between the two companies.

Sainsbury's commercial manager, Adam Zeiderman, said in a statement: "We think our customers will welcome the convenience of being able to purchase inexpensive worldwide internet calls when they shop. Combined with our experience selling mobile phone top-up cards, we anticipate that the system will integrate seamlessly into all our stores."

Analysts gave a mixed reaction to the news, with some doubting that the general public are ready for the VoIP revolution.

Barry Butler of telecoms analysts Juniper Research told sister site ZDNet UK: "It's good for people with a serious cost challenge like international calls, or for business but for the average person in the street, they're not going to want to have to boot up a computer to run it."

Butler added: "The bleeding edge part of the population will embrace this but there are so many other low-cost telephony [products] on offer at the moment."

James Enck of Daiwa Securities agreed that a major market for the vouchers could be found in those who currently use international calling cards.

Enck said: "It's really going to be someone who's making a lot of international calls, particularly to third world countries where the termination pricing is extortionate."

He added: "It's probably a fairly significant development in terms of growing consumer awareness of VoIP."


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