While traditional telcos are using bundles and value-added services to try to keep customers, Skype and other small companies are free to treat voice services as part of a software package separate from the network infrastructure, Zennström said. Skype is aimed at consumers, but an enterprise-oriented service demonstrated by Brian Day, Nortels vice president of wireline networks, uses similar ideas. The system, rolled out internally by Nortel, integrates with a desktop telephone, but also puts features such as instant messaging, multimedia, file transfer and presence management on the desktop. Day said the ability to make calls via a laptop from any IP network, including a wireless LAN, has cut his cell phone bill by about 25 percent a month.Internet companies such as Yahoo and Google are more likely to come up with an offering that pulls the rug out from under traditional models, said Enck. "Voice service providers could get caught in the crossfire between guerilla geeks and Internet brands," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms VOIP & Telephony Center at http://voip.eweek.com for the latest news, views and analysis on voice over IP and telephony.
However, telcos need have no fear of Nortel, since the service is designed to reap $200 to $300 annual average revenue per user for service providers, Day said.