Skype to launch handset for UK

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Although there has been no official announcement, my sources say it’s a done deal that Skype will launch a mobile handset with UK operator Three this month.

BusinessWeek is also claiming that the mobile will also launch in Italy, Hong Kong, and Australia, with the five remaining territories for Three after that. There appear to be no plans to launch the mobile in the US, which makes sense since most of their creaking mobile networks would probably melt under the data crunch as Skype mobile would require a 3G network, rare in the US.

iSkoot, which makes a mobile version of Skype is said to be making the handset, which will have multimedia capabilities and high-speed data for mobile Web browsing to suit Three’s 3G network. A dedicated button will activates Skype’s service for long-distance and international calls and display Skype buddies. Three won’t charge extra to use the Skype feature but customers will be required to spend a certain amount per month in overall tariff.

The only other question remains – how game-changing is this? Three already offers the X-Series handsets with Skype coming bundled with the handset. Perhaps this new handset will make the whole concept more overt for customers and give Three a marketing edge on the other networks? It’s hard to say, and the Skype tie-in so far hasn’t exactly been market-changing.

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  • Dave Beck

    I’ve seen other references to this saying it will use the normal iSkoot practice of using the voice path for the call and data for call setup. A Skype proxy runs on iSkoot servers, not the phone. This has the advantage of actually working, rather than attempting to run VoIP over a limited bandwidth data path without any QoS.

    You (and others) can try iSkoot as long as you have a supported phone (several are, you might need Java), a Skype id and a voice/data plan on any UK carrier. Visit the iSkoot website.

  • nate

    The drawback of Skype on the Three X-Series is that you cannot use Skype-out to make international calls, you can only call other Skype users, which is a pretty big flaw in my books.

  • Raj Anand

    This sounds fabulous. I wonder how Vodafone, Orange etc will react to it. Already Jajah (one of my favourite services) online allows you to call other landlines and mobiles.

    Free in the States, if both numbers are registered with Jajah and much cheaper calls otherwise. Over the last 3-4 months I have saves £89.61 with them.

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