3 UK brings VoIP to cheapskates
Skype handset to launch Monday
3 UK has admitted that it's working on a Skype phone to bring VoIP connectivity to more of its mobile customers.
3 UK's Skype phone - allegedly.
While the mobile operator would confirm the phone's existence, exact details are scarce, though industry rumours suggest the handset will be launched Monday and available in-store by Thursday.
The phone will be available on a £12 a month contract as well as pay as you go, and will feature a 2MB camera and MP3 player as well as video playback.
3 has been offering Skype for a while, on its X-Series range, but rather cleverly the connection isn't really end-to-end VoIP. The connection from the phone handset to 3 is over normal cellular lines; circuit-switched with guaranteed quality, it then switches to VoIP for the rest of the connection. This doesn't guarantee the quality of a Skype call, but it goes a long way to mitigating the problems of being mobile.
This also means the handset doesn't have to do all the complicated VoIP stuff - and this (we understand) is what 3 is planning to launch next week.
Sources close to the firms say calls to other Skype users will be free, though it's unlikely 3 will allow SkypeOut minutes to be used.
The full details are to be announced Monday, and today neither 3 nor Skype would confirm the finer points of the package. ®
I too am a Vyke User. Have been for some time. Would recommend people (looks like they got in before SKYPE).
Vyke a better product
Details of the Skype offering are here http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7066271.stm. I've been using a product called vyke for about 6 months now. Its not tied into any mobile phone (works on any java/wifi enabled mobile) You can call to any location unlike Skype. Calls to UK landlines are free. Its halved my phone bill.
Oops! + Correction
"2MB camera"? Awesome, that means I can store hundreds of cameras on my W950i - who said it wasn't a camera phone?
Also, I don't think 3 offer 'true' Skype/VoIP, as their data network (like any mobile data network IIRC) has horrible latencies for real-time uses. Instead, the handset calls a 3-network number (the "Skype Service", or something), and all the translation to VoIP is done at the network operator's end, like.
The handset looks nice too - would Paris Hilton use one? :o