Sainsbury's and Skype in Sales Alliance

The supermarket chain has begun selling credit vouchers for the VoIP provider and will soon also carry its headsets and handsets

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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