3 Hong Kong, the mobile division of Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong, has signed an agreement with OTT service provider Skype. Customers of 3 Hong Kong who subscribe to Skype’s Unlimited World Calling product can now make voice calls to Skype users and non-Skype users alike on mobile phones in eight destinations, and calls to landlines in 63 countries and regions, for a monthly fee of HKD 69 (US $8.90), during a contract period of 12 months. 3 Hong Kong offers Skype’s Unlimited World Calling to users as a monthly billable option at an exclusive price. Customers can make Skype voice calls and Skype-to-Skype video calls, and can also share files via 3 Hong Kong’s LTE network.
The Skype deal offered to 3 Hong Kong’s subscribers should prove attractive, as it represents an approximately 40 percent savings over the standard monthly rate for usage of Skype’s Unlimited World Calling. And with increasing demand for data-intensive usage such as video calling and file sharing, access to the operator’s LTE network is likely to be a strong selling point for this service. Whatever the cost to 3 Hong Kong for subsidizing the discount, we believe it will be worthwhile, since it represents a particularly strong version of the “don’t beat them; join them” strategy by which many mobile operators are dealing with the ever-intensifying OTT challenge. With this exclusive offer, 3 Hong Kong can, in a sense, make Skype its own by offering subscribers—especially those who make a large number of international calls—special access, and it stands a very good chance of acquiring new subscribers who are already heavy Skype users. With such strategies, mobile operators can profit from third-party OTT services in ways that go beyond just data revenues.