Feeds

Skype not ready for mobility

Mobile chief says network tariffs make it impractical

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Skype's head of mobile access has said that until network operators stop charging by the quantity of data transmitted then Skype won't be available on mobile phones.

Skype is a popular VoIP service which offers free calls to other Skype users, but if the user is paying their network operator for the data they use then the calls can be anything but free.

"We don't want to be in a situation where we say: 'Skype is free' and then at the end of the month the user gets this huge broadband bill," Eric Lagier told Reuters at CES.

When the idea of Skype on 3G was first mooted many networks responded that it wasn't a problem: given the amount they intended to charge for data they would make more money on a Skype call than a normal voice connection. But with the emergence of Wi-Fi networks, and Wi-Fi-capable handsets, unlimited connectivity is available; and with the promise of free calls such connectivity could challenge the dominance of network operators.

All this seems to make sense, until you remember that T-Mobile already offers a largely unlimited tariff with Web 'n' Walk (capped, like most ADSL broadband connections), and that 3 are already offering unlimited Skype calls – though they aren't doing proper VoIP as they depend on the voice channel for the wireless portion of the connection.

So it might seem that this is just an excuse to draw attention to the problems Skype has had getting its software ported to mobile phone handsets. Competitive products such as Truephone work on Nokia N-Series handsets, so it can be done. Fring is even integrated with the Skype network, albeit though a gateway, and works perfectly well over the T-Mobile network.

Doing without that gateway might be complicated: the Skype protocol was never intended to work on mobile phones, and problems have been reported in the past, so it's easy to believe that technical problems, rather than business needs, lie at the back of this pronouncement.®

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.