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Skype users can now send text messages to mobiles without being charged for the privilege.

The service, provided by London-based Connectotel, is free for as long as beta testing lasts.

To use the service Skype subscribers must start a Chat with "smsgateway" and enter the phone number in international format (preceded by +44 for the UK) followed by the text message. The gateway then forwards the message over to the mobile network.

Skype users must be authorised by Connectotel before using the service. This is done manually and may take up to 24 hours. It is based on customers' Skype Profile which must be filled in.

The service is available in Basque, Bulgarian, Croatian, Dutch, English, Faroese, French, German, Polish and Russian.

More details available here.®

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