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Skype to offer new Skype app designed for India

At a time when the concept of net neutrality and a regulatory framework for over-the-top (OTT) apps was a hot topic of debate in India, Skype is said to be planning to launch a country-specific app.

Skype spokesperson, Filipp Seljanko, revealed plans of an India-specific Skype app on Thursday, in an interaction with The Indian Express. The app would offer video and voice over internet protocol services that were optimised for India's mobile networks - specifically, to offer a better experience over 2G and 3G networks.

Microsoft-owned, Skype decided to develop the app after market research showed that competitors like Viber were able to provide better services for mobile users in the country.

Seljanko said, India's 2G and 3G networks, as also the mix of phones in use, posed very specific challenges for the company. The new application would be much lighter than the one now available, and would require far less computation resources and memory.

Though the report claimed Microsoft was hoping that the new Skype for India application would spur sales of Lumia and Nokia Asha handsets preloaded with it, the company would need to offer the country-specific application on Android and iOS platforms as well.

Seljanko said it was true applications like Skpe ate into conventional operators' revenues,India Today reported, but added it was not a zero sum game. He said there were similar problems in the US and Europe, which the company addressed by finding ways for mobile service providers to enhance their revenues by selling data. He said people paid for data when they used Skype.

Skype today allowed free video call conferencing for up to 10 persons, and audio conferencing for up to 30 people, which ate into  telecom firms revenue in India, leading to drop in conventional calls and text messages, telcos maintain.

Seljanko said in his opinion the telecommunication market was hugely overpriced. He said the fact that telephony companies were charging tariffs for voice traffic that the technology just did not justify suggested that their model had to change.

He said he would say they were not losing revenues, but some profits.

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