Coming “Real Soon Now”: Skype for iPhone over 3G

S4iPhone.CdnFlag.120px[1] Launch of the iPad last week and the Apple’s recent change in their developer terms of service involving the removal of restrictions for using VoIP technology over a carrier’s 3G network have had the Skype mobile team busy reviewing the opportunities.

In a Share Skype post, An update on Skype for iPhone and calling over 3G, Peter Parkes interviews Skype for Mobile team member David Ponsford making a few points:

  • Skype’s high quality audio SILK technology will be embedded in the next version of Skype for iPhone (for both the latest model iPhone 3G S and iPod Touch)
  • “Real soon now” (quoting David in the video) we’ll be able to make Skype for iPhone voice calls over a carrier’s 3G network using Skype for iPhone.
  • The next version will also incorporate the call quality indicator, a very useful tool found currently in the Skype for Windows 4.2 beta release.
  • Skype for iPad is under consideration; given Apple’s claim that all current third party iPhone apps should run on the iPad, this should not involve too much change other than adapting to the larger screen size.

Here’s the video:

Skype for iPhone has bailed me out for voice calling on my recent trips to the U.S. for CES 2010 and IT Expo. During both events several calls from outside parties to my BlackBerry resulted in very poor call quality when roaming over the AT&T network. As a result I had to ask the calling party to hang up and called them back using Skype for iPhone (fortunately I was in a WiFi access point’s range). And the call quality was more than acceptable in each case. Just reinforces my point last spring about WiFi becoming a stealth carrier.

What will be real interesting is how much data traffic is generated by calls over 3G:

  • Will it be the application to cause me to take full advantage of the 6GB data plan (for Canadian access) on my iPhone where my usage currently runs under 100MB per month?
  • What will be the impact on roaming data plans and the resultant charges?
  • While there is no doubt that Rogers, Bell and Telus will be able to handle the additional data traffic load in Canada, will Skype for iPhone over 3G be the application that brings down AT&T’s network in the U.S? (Especially if they can’t deliver good quality voice calls on their voice channel – see above.)

One final question: Does “real soon now” mean prior to or during the upcoming Vancouver/Whistler 2010 Winter Olympics that start in nine days (Feb. 12)?

Thanks to Skype’s Chief Blogging Officer Peter Parkes and David Ponsford for the update.

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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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