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Skype Unleashed Onto Cell Phones 74

Posted by Zonk
from the phree-as-in-phones dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today Hutchinson announced that it would provide unlimited cell phone to cell phone Skype calls via a 3G connection. This new service, called X-series, is part of a new alliance made up of Skype, Sling Media, Yahoo, Nokia, Google, eBay, Microsoft, Orb and Sony Ericsson. According to the article, users will also be able to 'search Google and Yahoo, send MSN instant messages to their friends, watch their TVs from a Slingbox, access their computer at home with Orb and buy or sell stuff on eBay.' Users will only get charged a monthly fee for access, in a similar way to broadband charges."
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Skype Unleashed Onto Cell Phones

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  • Re:Fine print... (Score:3, Informative)

    by hughk (248126) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:03PM (#16876622) Journal
    Ah but many PDA phones and some of the new Nokia phones (E61, E80) have WiFi. You can run VoIP over a WiFi either at home or through local hotspots supplied by your provider (or anywhere else).
  • Actually.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by apollosfire (954290) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:16PM (#16876828)
    That's Hutchison [wikipedia.org], not Hutchinson.
  • Latency? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:18PM (#16876870)
    I have Cingular's unlimited plan for the internet. The lowest ping I've ever had was 800ms, and I average 950 to 1150. Combine this with my maximum of 4Kb/s, how exactly is voip going to be feasible?
  • by jfengel (409917) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:31PM (#16877074) Homepage Journal
    What you're missing is that generally, you're not allowed to use your 3G for VOIP, precisely because it competes with the classic cell-provider's plan. This one explicitly set up for VOIP, and so it'll presumably be more convenient via a major mode of the phone rather than some application.

    There's also the fact that this is a flat-rate plan rather than a per-minute or per-packet plan. Presumably that's aided by specific VOIP software in the cells themselves. VOIP is a bandwidth hog.
  • Bandwidth hog (Score:3, Informative)

    by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:56PM (#16877392) Homepage Journal
    8 kbps for a typical non-Skype VOIP codec, add packet overhead and you're in the approximate range 10-20 kbps. Skype is more demanding, with one source claiming 3-16 kBps (notice the capital B). So, somewhere in the modem range, maybe up to ISDN speeds.
  • by Threni (635302) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @06:15PM (#16877630)
    > Can anybody explain why this is a good thing? Right now, I make a telephone call on my cell phone. I get charged one flat monthly
    > fee (that is pretty low). It really couldn't possibly be any simpler.

    If you've got a low monthly fee for a cell phone contract which will let you call people anywhere in the world on their cellphone for no additional fee then I want to know about it!
  • by rising_hope (900951) on Friday November 17, 2006 @08:10AM (#16882548)
    I've been able to do this for almost a year now, using my Verizon xv6700, unlimited data plan ($45/mo) and the WM5.0 Skype Client. What's new? The problem with running 3G on your phone constantly, though, which is what you need to do in order to receive calls over skype, is that it sucks down battery life like nobody's business. Standby is simply no longer an option. 3G (EV-DO) data connections make a virtual phone call, except the battery consumption is twice the normal battery consumption for a standard phone call (1x). That 180 hours of standby, 6 talk time on the longest lasting battery you can find? Uh.. yeah, not anymore. Try like.. 3.. if you're lucky. Worse - because incoming calls trump data connections, you'd better not care about who you're talking to when you do make a skype call from your phone, cause it'll drop the second someone else calls you, as your data call gets put on hold. This can be resolved by having a data-only plan with your PDA phone, but then you run into not being able to make calls off 3G networks, having to carry two phones, and still having to deal with that whole battery life issue, constantly in search of the next wall outlet (and how useful is that for a cell phone?) At that point, why not just go with one of the smaller carriers like Cricket who provide unlimited calling for $45/mo (but you can't leave your service area.) Still, it's useful for making outgoing calls when you have a charger nearby and are doing something like 800/866/877 dialing, and you don't want to waste minutes (which should be free for those calls anyway.) It's cool, but over-rated, at least until battery for high speed data services no longer become an issue. I'm a big fan of the possibilities, but unless they've somehow made some magical integration where it would detect a skype call in progress trumps incoming calls and somehow are able to put the battery into low consumption mode while connected to 3G networks, people are going to find the skype feature a novel, but not very useful, technology.

Loan-department manager: "There isn't any fine print. At these interest rates, we don't need it."

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