Free Phone Calls For Everyone

According to eBay’s chief executive, we can all expect to make phone calls for free, with no per-minute charges. She says it will be free because of deals the carriers will make to sell advertising, or by getting a portion of transaction fees from users. From the AP via Yahoo.

“The percentage of users that you can actually charge for (phone services) will actually go down, so I actually agree with that and we understood that when we looked at Skype,” Whitman said in responding to the analyst’s question.

She said she expects the cost of all such calls to drop to zero and that by combining some of their electronic markets, eBay, with online payment systems, Paypal, and by using web based communications, skype, that they can emerge as THE leader in all such markets.

Skype, which allows free Web-based calls between members, ended September with more than 57 million registered users. EBay said it expects Skype to produce estimated revenues of $60 million in 2005, and more than $200 million in 2006.

Whitman said Skype’s explosive success, would — over the next several years — drive the cost of phone calls to nothing.

The chairman and chief executive of the world’s largest online auction site said the transition to completely free voice communications will not happen in the next year or two, but that could happen in the next three to six years.

She feels that the businesses with the largest number of users, will end up with the largest number of voice minutes and will end up with the best developers creating the best products that these users will actually want to pay for.

EBay said it had 168.1 registered users for its online auctions as of the end of September. It had 68.0 million active users who signed on to bid or sell in its electronic marketplace over the past 12 months. It had 86.6 million current accounts on its PayPal payment service

I’m up for free phone calls, now maybe they can buy Sprint and my cell phone can be free as well, hehe. I hope she’s right, but I somehow get the feeling that the phone companies might want to hang onto all of this revenue as long as they can.