back to article Nokia to preinstall Skype on handsets

Nokia is pre-installing a Skype client on the flagship N97 handset, being launched in June, allowing users to make VoIP calls without paying a penny to the network operator who is still expected to subsidise the cost of the phone. It seems like only yesterday Nokia was removing SIP functionality from operator-variant handsets …


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  1. Mage Silver badge


    The "3" solution and iSkoot make practical sense. On average 3G/HSDPA is only good enough about 20% of the time for Skype or SIP based VOIP.

    It will be great for home WiFi hostspot. The current SIP client on E series phones also was intended primarily for in office VOIP systems. not VOIP on 3G.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fring's here

    And works on the N96. As for the 3 "skype" - as you explained, won't do skypeout calls.

    What I don't understand is why is it so hard to download a working skype client. One would expect that skype would be more interested in selling skypeout credits than appeasing the operators?

  3. Philip Teale

    No Network Charges?

    Surely the network operator will be making money from the data tariffs that the users will need to be using when not within range of a wi-fi hotspot?

  4. Thurstan R McDougle

    Skype is DATA, i.e. expensive

    I don't know the relevant charge rates but might not the operators make more money from Skype calls than ordinary due to higher data charges?

    Also IIRC Skype talks to the servers occasionally even when just waiting for calls.

  5. Neil Alexander

    Skype on 3

    > "UK operator 3 has had some success with its Skype-Phone, but that isn't really VoIP at all, neither can it make SkypeOut calls - so the user is still dependent on 3 for most of their calls."

    I have both a Skypephone and a Nokia N95 on 3, and both can make SkypeOut calls.

  6. John B

    Um, no.

    My Phone can skype-out on 3, have done so for the past 4 months...

  7. Michael B.

    Which Skype Client?

    Is this a real fully fledged Skype client or the fake one that makes a Skype call by calling a UK number?

  8. PaulK
    Thumb Down


    I used SIP on a Vodafone branded E65. It did work quite well but the battery life sucked wind with a WiFi Connection. Similarly Fring worked very well as a Skype client with the same comments about WiFi. I don't think the operators are worried about this because anybody that can be arsed to set it up would use a netbook or PDA if their mobile was locked out.

    SIP over 3G would be very nice :o) but with VOIP traffic charged at mega rates, the operators can protect their revenue in any case.

  9. floweracre
    Paris Hilton

    Great article

    but wont the operators just block skype traffic? am i missing something?

    i use skype on not one or two networks - and i realise its a "normal" call as to the handset. but it works for us.

    but if there is a way of getting skype without being a customer of theirs , well in my opinion that can only be good, as they have messed me about, a lot. but the skype draw keeps me with them.

    will this set us free from these shackles?

    why the icon? probably wouldnt try so hard to break free of her shackles.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Operators don't mind

    "for free over 3G"

    How is that free? It's like saying that normal voice calls are free from your mobile... it's not free, it's _included_ in your tariff. Skype calls are going to eat in to your data allowance the same way voice calls eat in to your voice allowance and text messages eat in to your sms allowance etc etc.

    And by offering plans with less data than equivalent voice, they'll make money on the data used.

    I seem to recall reading that data backhaul from cell towers is cheaper than voice backhaul anyway.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Not pay a penny?

    So who covers the data usage bill then (which is exorbitant for a mobile device)? The magic pixies?

  12. Obnoxio The Clown

    Yeah, but no, but ...

    Surely the mobile phone operators would cream it in terms of the data traffic they'd be carrying?

    (I'm probably exposing my ignorance of data traffic billing here... :o)

  13. Bod
    Thumb Down


    Hopefully operators will uninstall it and it's easily removable from sim-free phones. The way Skype works makes it a bloat app, and it's not data friendly as it's a P2P app (though maybe that's why operators aren't too bothered as they can rake it in on data charges).

    Pointless inclusion when most S60 phones now includes "proper" VoIP in the form of SIP built into the OS itself (though disabled by some operators), that doesn't require a background P2P app to be hogging all the resources, and can be used amongst a vast amount of VoIP operators, many of which are far cheaper than Skype (and often include free geographical landline numbers with no charges for receiving calls on it).

  14. Nigel Whitfield

    SIM only deals

    Perhaps subsidy-free isn't such a bad idea. I was just toying with the idea of changing my N95 for something newer, and looking at the tariff I'm on, the deals I was being offered by my network (Orange) weren't very good; to get something like, say, an N85 at bargain price, I'd have to commit to a two year contract, or move up to one that costs a lot more per month.

    Instead, I've moved down to a SIM-only deal, which actually costs around 20 quid a month less than I'm paying, only 30 days notice, and provides me with just about twice as many minutes, MB and unlimited texts.

    Over less than the two years I'd have to stay with Orange, the amount I'll save will more than pay for a new, unlocked handset - and if I'm abroad, I'll have no difficulty putting a local SIM in it to save money, either.

    When I looked around, all the networks seem to be offering SIM-only deals now, from as little as a tenner a month, so perhaps there is some merit in Nokia pushing sales direct to customers.

    For the punters, if you don't want a new phone, and you're out of contract, it's pretty much a no-brainer to move to a SIM only deal. If there were any shred of respectability in the mobile business, of course, you'd be moved to an equivalent price once they've clawed back the subsidy on your phone, rather than leaving it to you to work out how much you can save

  15. Dave

    Not just for future or n97 handsets

    Didn't the Nokia announcement say that other Nokia handsets would receive the Skype functionaity by way of a firmware update? That's got the potential to be even more of a thorn in the side of the mobile operators, now they have to deal with a stack of phones that were susbsidised when sold, but are now making calls with no financial benefit to them.

  16. Paul Sammy
    Thumb Up

    Nokia N96

    Does this mean I can expect a firmware update to my sim-free N96 to restore the VOIP software stack? (My N95 had it!).

    Also, WIFI isn't really ubiquitous or reliable enough (or free enough in the UK) outside the home to be able to avoid paying money to the network operators...will it really matter much to them if they get their pennies from voice package or a data package?

    I think it's good news.

  17. Algis Petraitis

    Do you really think traffic over 3G is for free?

    If I would turn on program like Skype on my handset, the invoice would be very high due to constant traffic this program generates, and its either heavy cost per megabyte, or quite high montly fee if I want unlimited plan. And my ordinary voice calls are for free already (due to high competition between GSM providers, all the calls I need are already included into monthly fees). Quality of VoIP is lower than for simple calls. And operators have anyway minimum margin for the international calls due to comptetition.

    So I do not see where exactly operators are harmed. What they can sell with some profit is increasingly a local loop bits, everything else becomes "cloud" or "Internet" where no profit can be made. Most probably bundling Skype will allow to collect more additional fees for 3G and Wi-Fi traffic.

    The only problem I see with this is that more and more people have the devices with more powerful batteries that constantly radiate electromagnetic field up to 2W power levels too close to the body. This will become mass problem as soon as any serious scientific results will be announced about cancer increase cases caused by the electromagnetic emissions. For these reasons I prefer that my mobile is not radiating when I do not talk.

  18. Neil Hoskins
    Black Helicopters


    Isn't Skype peer-to-peer? I stopped using it at home because my router lights would start going ape-shit for minutes even when I wasn't doing anything. In any case, I don't trust it: it's a proprietary technology and I'd far rather just have a SIP client. Nokia, however, seem to be dropping that, at least from N-series devices. It's probably, like anything else, all to do with branding because everybody has heard of Skype.

  19. foo_bar_baz
    Thumb Down

    Contract phones

    Like having to buy a Shell-branded car as part of your petrol subscription. How quaint.

  20. Paolo Marini
    Thumb Up

    Clarifications for "3" Skype

    As others have mentioned, it has already been possible to use SkypeOut on the "3" network for a few months, but unlike some others have quoted, it doesn't require a data plan - it just works - from your £15/month voice plan ("3" has also always had a special plan for £12/month on a dedicated Skypephone and recently introduced a £9/month with a specific Nokia handset).

    The only limitation is that "national" calls to UK are not allowed (so far) with SkypeOut, so you can only call abroad - but you can still use the standard Skype calls to anywhere/anyone on Skype. Text/SMS messages and video-calls are also not enabled in the "limited version"...

    And I've read somewhere in the small print that the "fair use" is 5000 minutes/month for Skype calls (not SkypeOut ones, which depend on your Skype credit...)

  21. Anonymous Coward


    Maybe its blackmail? If you buy our phones as subsidiced you can disable skype, otherwise people will buy them unbound with skype and practicly cut you off. :)

  22. Andrew Woodvine

    Data costs

    Several of you have questioned whether this would be really free due to the exorbitant data charges imposed by the mobile networks.

    A few years ago this would have been a valid point. Recently though data costs have reduced significantly and now you can typically get "unlimited" data for less than £10 a month. I'd expect many people that would use Skype on the handset would already have "unlimited" data included in their tariff anyway, so I'd say it's about as free as you're going to get.

    Of course, all the networks need to do now is to work out how to charge separately for such traffic.

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