Saturday, May 29, 2010

Skype 2.0: Voice Calls over 3G

Today Skype finally launched the long awaited 3G Voice calling client. What this means is that consumers can make calls via iPhone using the AT&T 3G data network instead of relying on Wi-Fi. After AT&T approved Voice calling via 3G, many VoIP apps already support Voice over 3G networks. Skype was a little late to the party. The service is free until August 2010, after that Skype is planning to charge users for the service. I’m a little confused here, why the hell should I pay Skype for making calls on AT&T 3G network. I’m already paying $30 for unlimited data plan and Skype uses the same data network for voice calls. So this logic sounds ridiculous to me. Another possibility could be that there is a revenue sharing between Skype and AT&T for carrying Voice over 3G network.

Here is the FAQ published in the iPhone App:

What does the “free Skype trial” mean?

You can now make and receive Skype-to-Skype calls and call phones over 3G from your iPhone.

To get you started, we’re offering you free Skype-to-Skype calls over 3G until at least the end of August 2010. After that there’ll be a small monthly fee.

Remember, you can always make free Skype-to-Skype calls from a WiFi hotspot.

The client monitors the 3G bandwidth and displays warning if the required bandwidth is not available for the call. I tried couple of calls and the quality was really bad. I noticed a small warning screen mentioning the bandwidth is average and will affect call quality.

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