Feeds

Skype comes to mobile (almost)

Some Voice Over The IP

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.