Updated Skype iPhone App Boasts 3G Calling Ability
Voice over IP (VOIP) provider Skype announced the launch of the latest
version of its iPhone application, currently available to download from the
Apple App Store. The company said this update allows iPhone users to make and
receive Skype-to-Skype calls, and to call mobiles and landlines around the
world at low rates for the first time over their 3G data connection.
The company said Skype-to-Skype calls on 3G will be free for a trial period, which will run until the end of 2010, and they noted operator data charges might still apply. Details of pricing will be announced in the coming months, which Skype said will "be in line" with the company's commitment to providing customers with value. Skype-to-Skype calls over WiFi will still remain free, the company noted.
Additional features of the Skype for iPhone application include improved sound quality for Skype-to-Skype calls using wideband audio on iPhone 3GS or second-generation iPod Touch and onward; an enhanced call quality indicator, which is designed to help customers choose the best moment to call; improved startup time; and rapid access to the dial pad from the home screen.
"Using Skype on 3G has been the No. 1 request among our iPhone customers. This new version is a great step toward enabling our customers to take and use Skype everywhere they go," said Russ Shaw, general manager for mobile at Skype. "Using Skype on iPhone without being restricted to the availability of a WiFi network will open up new ways for Skype customers to stay connected and make free or low-cost calls whenever they want, wherever they are in the world."
According to its specifications, Skype's latest version is compatible with the iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch and iPad. Skype requires iPhone OS Version 3.0 and above. Calling functionality is available on iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and second-generation iPod Touch onward; and the iPod Touch requires a compatible headset with a microphone, the company noted.
"We have a group of young tennis players that are constantly traveling inside Spain and around the world. One of them is my daughter; she travels a lot and we use Skype to communicate because it's easier, faster and cheaper," said Alexei Starkov, the physical/fitness coach of the Federaci??n de Tenis de Madrid. "The change of having Skype on the mobile phone has been crucial for us. Before we had to look for a computer in the tennis clubs and hotels, and it was a real problem because it was very difficult to find one. Tennis is an individual sport, and when you travel by yourself at times you feel very lonely. Now with Skype for iPhone also allowing for calls over 3G you can call anytime and anywhere without having to find a WiFi spot."