back to article Skype comes to mobile (almost)

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 …

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  1. Jon H

    Windows Mobile

    Skype has had a Windows Mobile version out for ages. As long as you're connected to the internet on your Windows Mobile phone, the Skype part is free.

  2. Nev Silver badge

    Jajah

    Jajah have had a java app for ages.

    Very good/cheap if you call international on your home network a lot.

    You can even set it up so that it uses an SMS to initiate an outgoing call.

  3. Alex Tomkins
    Thumb Down

    Will many people bother with this?

    I suppose it isn't that bad if you want to call another Skype user, as you'll just be paying for the call as usual - which might be fairly cheap or even included with free calling minutes (assuming they don't stop it).

    Once you take a look at the call rates for SkypeOut (available at <http://www.skype.com/prices/callrates/#listing-U>) you might think twice. It'll cost yourself around 15p/minute for someone to phone you! Anyone important enough will already have my mobile phone number anyway, they can pay for it instead.

  4. Ash

    Symbian?

    Seriously, what's the issue with launching a client for Symbian S60? Truphone have VoIP, Fring have hacked together their own VoIP connection to Skype's network... It's not perfect, but it's proof of contept.

    FYI, though, O2, Vodaphone, Orange, and T-Mobile UK all specifically forbid the use of VoIP connections over their mobile data packages. I don't know if they actively take measures to block it, but i'm much more interested in VoIP at WiFi hotspots instead.

  5. JeffyPooh

    Mobile or 'mobe' ?

    My EV-DO broadband (used in my house-in-the-forest) is mobile-capable (I've used it in my car). So I could Skype even while mobile, but it would be akward to balance a laptop while walking around. My PSP has skype too, so I could tuck the EV-DO WiFi hotspot into my pocket and use the PSP to Skype even while walking around.

    The era of nearly-free worldwide long distance is not far off. Five years tops? Invest accordingly.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    proprietary Skype

    Isn't the problem that Skype uses some kind of P2P system which is probably beyond the capabilities of most phones?

    Fact is, most top-end phones have VoIP built in, in the form of SIP which is a *standard*.

    Hopefully Skype users will start to see it for what it is when it comes to mobiles. A locked-in proprietary P2P based instant messaging app with voice chat. The only reason it's popular is because it's got a cool name and kids and immigrants can install a funky app on their PC to make cheap calls to their friends or back home overseas from the comfort of their broadband connection and using the power of a PC (or suitable "brick" that goes with standalone Skype phones).

    As for hotspots, even SIP VoIP is next to useless as most hotspots can't cope. The kind of traffic Skype uses would be even worse.

  7. Joe
    Unhappy

    Close but no cigar for Ireland

    Well, while the IM bit works in Ireland the voice part doesn't as there is no Irish service number set up yet. Meanwhile the 3 Skype client lacks support for instant messaging unless you are using the dedicated 3 Skypephone. It would be nice if Skype and 3 had worked more in concert on this, specifically if the 3 client supported instant messaging like the Skype client does and/or if the Skype client could be used with the 3 service number for voice for 3 customers.

  8. Stephen
    Paris Hilton

    three.co.uk

    Uh excuse me, I have had a skype phone from "3" for about 7 months now... the phone is branded skype and includes skype software which allows free skype-skype calls.

  9. pctechxp

    Sierra Kilo Yankee Papa Echo India Sierra Charlie Romeo Alpha Papa

    In my day job I speak to a lot of people overseas and skype is a popular choice to save costs of course but on quite a few occasions I've had to end up ringing them back on a landline or their mobile because there was obviously so much contention on their connection or the links between them and Blighty (via several other peoples connections and ISP links) that Skype had reduced its bit rate to the point that their speech was unintelligible and they could not hear me very well either, even though I resorted to spelling commands they needed to enter phonetically, airline pilot style.

    Have tinkered with Skype myself and had the same issues and certainly wouldn't pay to make calls through it (I still have 9.94 of my original credit on my account) ao no wonder they are taking this step as they are obviously still floundering.

    VOIP is a crap tech that needs to go the way of the analogue mobile.

  10. JohnG

    I prefer SIP on a Symbian phone with WLAN

    When in range of a free WLAN (i.e. at home and at work), it uses a local landline number with a SIP provider. Otherwise, it uses GSM as usual.

    It is also useful when on holiday - I used the SIP service via WLAN from a hotel in Thailand. Much cheaper than either hotel or roaming charges.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re:Sierra Kilo Yankee Papa Echo India Sierra Charlie Romeo Alpha Papa

    You mean Skype is a crap tech that needs to go the way of the analogue mobile.

    Your call to a "landline" overseas in 99% of the cases has gone over VOIP. So will your mobile call in some networks (while mobile edge is still TDM or ATM, many operators like Orange operate a purely VOIP network for their core call switching).

  12. Rooster Brooster

    How curious...

    Aha! Reading the title, I was slightly hoping that this would be full video conferencing Skype, in other words something new. I guess the news-worthiness of this is spectacular level of "late" and "nothing new" from a company who had once operated in leap and bounds. Skype must be under huge pressure to up revenue, if the stories of ebay wanted to cut their losses are true. Folks savvy enough to install skype on their mobile will be also quick to find a more versatile product.

    With my three 3.5G phone there's about 1.2 MB down and 80k up, so enough for thumbnail video&speech. Maybe FRING will be the first to find a way to access the front facing camera in symbian phones and bring the IM experience to the handset.

  13. netean
    Thumb Down

    not just me then

    having used skype and got rather narked that they "removed" my credit because I didn't use it in time - but when I did use it the latency was just appauling, reminiscent of calling australia back in the 1980s. Like old fashioned "satellite delay".

    Call quality wasn't as significantly less than I remember it was back in the 1980s also.

    Might be more expensive, but I'll stick to real landlines, or another voip operator (for me it's gizmo or wengophone). as their lag isn't nearly as bad!

  14. Steve Evans

    @Ash

    Worse than that... WiFi capable handsets like the N95 from Orange/Vodafone etc, are crippled at source so apps like Fring can't do voip over WiFi and it has to go over GPRS, which is definitely not something to try when you're roaming!

    Unless you happen to change your handset model number to a generic Nokia one, and then flash the handset with a new firmware release... All theory of course... *cough* would never do it *cough* it didn't really work like a charm and save my bacon in a shopping centre in Eastern Europe... *cough*

  15. David
    Flame

    There's better out there!!

    If been using a service called MO-Call for months now that has been does exactly what Skype is trying to do- GSM origination and termination with VoIP connection inbetween.

    It's sold as a low cost international calling solution and supposedly works everywhere in the world- i love it as i travel and call abroad a lot and it's saved me a fortune and has worked every where i have been.

    I use it on my S60 phones and it just runs in the back ground of my phone and i just call my international calls like normal.

    They also support like 800 phones or something- So they are light years ahead.

    Skype have dropped the ball and are doing too little too late!! RIP

  16. Bonnie
    Dead Vulture

    RE: Symbian?

    Industry rumour has it the reason for Skype's inability to bring out a S60/Symbian client is part protocol inefficiency and part bad coding. Having tried the WinMob client, I agree heartily.

    Sierra Charlie Romeo Alpha Papa indeed. SIP rules...

  17. David Beck

    Skype Mobile nee iSkoot

    I loaded the Skype client into my Samsung Z720 and have had a play. It works fine for UK to "other" calls and I'm happy that I now have a replacement for iSkoot on my Treo (given up because of lack of 3g data speeds). Looks to me like Skype have labeled the iSkoot software and infrastucture as used with the Skypephone. As far as I'm concerned this is the best of both worlds, I can use Skype for international calls without a wifi connection (I have a N800 for that) and it works on "ordinary" phones. Until the carriers re-tariff VoIP and provide a substantial increase in bandwidth or provide a QoS for VoIP, I'll stick with this sort of scheme.

    Beck

  18. A J Stiles
    Linux

    Die, Skype, Die!

    Skype is living on borrowed time.

    Real VoIP uses IAX, the Inter-Asterisk eXchange protocol. This is an open and documented standard: anyone is welcome to implement an IAX softphone, and there are established IAX-to-POTS gateway services.

    The day someone releases a blingy IAX softphone that appeals to the Windows-using chavs is the day Skype start haemorrhaging customers.

  19. Thomas Y. Liou
    Alert

    Our solution for GSM/SKYPE integration

    Before hardware based cell phone using wifi to connect to the internet can resolve the costy problem, my company's solution to this is a software based program to be installed at carrier's base and allow subscribers to make and receive calls with SKYPE accounts. My company is signing contract with Hong Kong based Smartone-Vodafone and should be launching very soon. Cost for the added service subscriber will be about $10 per month. Due to signal on GSM is great anywhere in Hong Kong, plus the SKYPE signal is sent through ultra high speed ASDL connection at carrier's exchange center, we expect the quality of voice can be great. We currently look for new customers worldwide and welcome any valid lead with great reward. Kindly comment or request for further information.

  20. Paul Charters
    Thumb Down

    Skype...bah...

    I still can't see the fascination people have with Skype. Unless you're really desperate to make calls abroad using really shoddy software then leave it alone...

    I tried a Skype-compatible piece of software on my mobile phone and it was awful. Skype has heavily delayed speech, awful (and echoey) sound quality and is as reliable as my ex-girlfriend.

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  22. Brian
    Thumb Down

    Skype is just a toy!

    I've never taken Skype seriously. If you want VoIP go for SIP and get some proper gear for it. Skype is for those who are not sufficiently technically apt to use SIP, or are ignorant of what is available.

    Hear the noise now from the Skype fanboys ! :-)

    The latest Skype call packages are for one country's landlines - want to dial a mobile or call another country then pay through the nose for it. On the world package try calling countries outside the list and pay a premium. With Skype you have to use proprietry equipment and be locked into one operator's call charges. With SIP you can choose from hundreds of providers and the hardware works, likewise with hundreds of providers. You can also route calls via a number of providers - not just one.

    OK, I admit it, I am a SIP fanboy!

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