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Skype goes out to mobile phones

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Skype Pro customers can now make international calls from their mobiles or any other phone at Skype Out rates, provided they've pre-registered the numbers they want to call.

When an international number is registered with the newly-launched Skype To Go service, a local number is provided as a proxy. The user can call that number from any phone and is connected to the international number they registered, with the cost of the call being billed to their Skype Out account.

Obviously, the call is routed over the internet, with associated quality issues, though for a cellular call the difference may not be noticed and the cost-saving should be considerable.

This is a response to competitors who are already providing VoIP services on mobile phones, and Skype's inability to launch the Symbian client it's been promising for so long, but the solution will work on any mobile, or any phone, and has more in common with Jajah than end-to-end VoIP services such as TruPhone.

In addition to the Skype Out rate for the call, Skype will get the termination fee from the local call - users will still have to pay their usual provider for that local call, so it's in their interest to promote the service, but getting users to pre-register numbers they intend to call won't be easy.

There are also security issues; once a proxy number has been issued, anyone could call it and incur charges on the owner's account as no password or PIN is necessary. It's not easy to see how that could present a security problem, but we're sure there are people already working on it. ®

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