Feeds

Skype comes to mobile (almost)

Some Voice Over The IP

High performance access to file storage

Skype has launched a beta version of its VoIP client for 50 models of mobile phone - but don't expect free calls, as this VoIP isn't all that it appears.

Skype has been available on special handsets from 3 for a while, but the service isn't really VoIP: it uses normal GSM for the wireless part of the call, then switches to VoIP at a Skype gateway for transmission over the internet. The new client works in exactly the same way, only without the accompanying operator tariffs.

With the 3 service you can make free calls to other Skype users, but Skype can't provide that with other network operators, so calls using the mobile Skype client will cost you the price of a local mobile call. Skype will also charge you for calling your mobile when you receive a call to your Skype number, and if you're roaming you'll end up paying both ends of the roaming charge.

So for calls there are probably cheaper alternatives, but the client also integrates with Skype messaging and presence servers, so you can use instant messaging and see if your contacts are logged on. Skype is careful to warn you that leaving yourself logged on could end up being expensive, though most usage should fall within the fair-use limits.

What's hard to understand is why it's taken Skype so long to do this. IM+, from Shape Services, has been offering the same capabilities for quite a while, and with Fring users can even make (genuinely) VoIP calls for free - though that's better restricted to when Wi-Fi is available. Fring is still lacking a business model, so might not be around forever, but without a genuine VoIP client Skype is in danger of losing customers to Truphone and its ilk.

Skype has claimed formidable technical challenges prevented the client existing earlier, but it seems more likely by launching a Java client on a range of handsets Skype can make some money out of existing users rather than launching, say, a Symbian client which would allow even more people to make free calls using Skype's infrastructure. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.