The Bottom Line
Skype's new mobile service is a way of saving a lot of money on local and international mobile communication. You can even talk to other Skype users for free. But if you are not a heavy mobile communicator, your savings might not be that interesting. You will need a 3G data plan, which has a monthly cost. Before all that, you need to have either a WiFi or 3G phone, which can be quite expensive.
So the service will be worthwhile and very beneficial for people who make a lot of mobile calls, especially internationally; and also for those who have their buddies using the Skype softphone as well.
- Free calls through your cell phone to other Skype users
- Cheap local and international rates for paid calls to landline and mobile networks
- Easy to download, install and use
- Works only on WiFi and 3G phones
- With 3G (for real mobility), an unlimited data plan is required
- Call quality can be an issue
- Easily downloaded and installed on mobile phone.
- Available only for Windows Mobile and Smartphone platforms.
- 12 MB required on the phone's memory for the application.
- Unlimited 3G data plan required for good quality.
Guide Review - Skype For Mobile Phones
Unexpectedly, Skype, a pioneer is software-based VoIP, is late in the mobile VoIP game. What it proposes is, strictly speaking, no better than other key players in the field, but still worth the try for Skype users, who can save quite some money on mobile communication with this service.
The setting up is simple: simply download the application from Skype's website (it can be downloaded directly from the mobile phone) and install it. Register for an account if you don't already have one, and you can already make free calls to other Skype users using their PC or mobile-based softphones. To call people on landline phones or mobile phones, cheap rates apply. Check their site for the current rates.
The main drawback is that the service works only with WiFi and 3G wireless technology, which means that you need to have high-end devices to use it. The number of phones and devices on which it works does not go beyond 50.
Then comes the problem that stains most mobile VoIP providers: the requirement for a data plan. WiFi is rather localized; so for real mobility, 3G is good. But the recommended unlimited 3G data plan required for good quality with this service has a non-negligible cost. So unless you make a lot of calls, you will not really save money using this service, since the 'overhead' costs are somewhat heavy: a 3G/WiFi phone plus the monthly data plan.
While I write this, Skype's mobile page implicitly indicates that the mobile application to be installed exists only for Windows Mobile and Smartphone platforms. This excludes users of other platforms like Symbian.
This new move from Skype will certainly cause existing mobile operators to lose money. As a result, some, like O2, T-Mobile and Orange, retaliate in preventing their users from using their cell phones with this service. Be sure to check that as well before jumping on board.