Skype is planning to launch its own mobile handset this month, following in the footsteps of Apple, and the all but confirmed mobile phone from Google.
According to BusinessWeek, Skype will offer the handset in conjunction with 3 Mobile in “late October” in Britain, Italy, Hong Kong, and Australia, with the 5 remaining 3 Mobile terrotories to follow. For anyone who has ever looked on in envy at tech rollouts in the United States, there are no plans at this stage to launch the mobile phone State side.
The handset is said to have been developed by iSkoot and is equipped with multimedia capabilities and high-speed data for mobile Web browsing (3 Mobile is a 3G network only, at least in Australia). A big button above the regular keypad activates Skype’s service for long-distance and international calls, and Skype buddies and regular phone contacts can be displayed.
3 Mobile won’t charge extra to use the Skype feature however customers will be required to spend a certain amount per month for other services, such as regular mobile calls, ringtones, or text messaging. 3 primarily markets itself with set monthly calling plans.
The only limitations within the target launch countries will be coverage; in Australia 3 mobile coverage is primarily only available in capital cities and although 3 network phones can roam on other networks outside these coverage areas, only people living within 3 zones can sign up for a phone.