Skype me for 3

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I was in the post office this afternoon and my phone rang, but it wasn’t a normal call, it was Sue starting a Skype chat on our new Skypephones. No computers, no wires, and I wasn’t even aware I was connected to the Internet but Sue was – she could see my online Skype presence and knew I was contactable. Michael van Swaaij, acting CEO of Skype said of the new Skypephone, “Finally you can put Skype in your pocket”, and how true that is.

Skypephone from 3 mobileIt’s been a long time since I’ve been excited over a new mobile handset, but I am with this one. It’s not the phone itself, which is a remarkable sleek and sexy design with a magnetic catch for the battery cover. It’s not the 2.0 megapixel camera, the MP3 player or all the normal extras that people expect on their phones today. It’s the fact that for the very first time “Free” calls really are “Free”.

3 include 4,000 free Skype minutes and 10,000 free Skype chat messages in your monthly tariff, and that includes Pay As You Go customers. For as little as £10 a month you can talk for free on Skype, and normal mobile calls and text messages will still only cost 12p/minute

Rather than the a Wi-Fi connection, the Skypephone uses the 3G telephone network. With the 3 mobile network that gives me coverage of at least 90% of the UK, Wi-Fi just can’t compete. Any time I have a 3G connection Skype, is automatically logged in and I can send and receive calls without being tied to a computer, or even to a fixed Internet connection.

The Skypephone from 3 aims to deliver services that customers want at a price point their willing to pay and above all to be useable. Kevin Russell CEO of 3 UK said the Skypephone ticks all those boxes. 3 aim to be the first mobile media company to start delivering service propositions which can change the market, and integrating Skype with free calls and free chat is a great way to attract new customers.

So who’s going to use the Skypephone? Well first and foremost eBay sellers shouldn’t be without one. Anyone who uses Skype in their eBay listings can now be online as much as they like for customers to contact them. Then for small businesses the Skypephone will be invaluable – any company with mobile workers can now talk for free without needing to sign up for call plans with inclusive minutes.

Where the Skypephone will really win though will be with the younger customers. How many teenagers are constantly running out of credit on their phones? With the Skypephone you can top up £10 per month and so long as your friends are on Skype you can talk for free for hours!

What really makes this phone special is that Skype isn’t an add on, it’s fully integrated into the handset. There’s no need to log into Skype, even the address book integrates your traditional telephone contacts with your Skype contacts.

3 SkypephoneIf colours are your thing the Skypephone comes in a choice of black, or white and blue or pink. It’s available for pre-order now, or you can buy it from 3 Stores from the 2nd November or on the Skype and 3 websites.

The one and only downside of the Skypephone is that it doesn’t yet support SkypeIn and SkypeOut. Michael van Swaaij assured me that those services will be added in the future and that will make this the best mobile handset available.

This phone is going to be a winner for 3, because as soon as you’ve made and received your first Skype call you’re never going to want to lose the service. If you switch to another mobile provider you’ll lose your free chat, free voice calls and your online presence, which lets your friends know you’re available to talk to. Imagine that, going off line! It’s so 2006!

PS…. if you want my new mobile phone number you don’t need it – SkypeMe instead!

9 Responses

  1. One paragraph :

    >>
    It’s the fact that for the very first time “Free” calls really are “Free”.
    >
    For as little as £10 a month you can talk for free on Skype,

  2. One paragraph :

    ========
    It’s the fact that for the very first time “Free” calls really are “Free”.
    ========

    Next paragraph :

    ========
    For as little as £10 a month you can talk for free on Skype,
    ========

    Mmmm…

    I’m giving away free £1 coins next week. For £10, you can have 9 of them – and I’ll repeat the offer ever day for the next year 😀

    (sorry – previous post didn’t work !)

  3. The calls are free but effectively you have to pay a subscription to get those free calls? I don’t see what the issue is with that: mobile phones have had that kind of deal for forever.

    (And tis better than my current PAYG crap with Vodaphone, where my credit becomes inaccessible after 30 days if I haven’t topped up. Anyone want a Vodaphone with about fifty quid’s worth of credit on it that I will NEVER EVER use?!)

  4. Put it this way – at the moment I pay for a mobile and can’t Skype people for free unless I have at least a wifi connection.

    With the Skypephone I pay for a mobile (no difference) but they give me Skype for free without even charging me for the 3G data that it uses 😀

  5. Glad to hear you are excited about the new phone. I too love the idea of it, but sadly, the reality is letting me down.

    i have a handset and the call quality is not something i would be jumping up and down about. You can definitely tell its not a normal voice call, and it reminds me a lot of the old days of analogue mobile calls. You spend a lot of time repeating sentences or words as they drop out every so often.

    I have raked up over 300minutes of talk time so far, and on the whole its “nice” but its not “nice” enough for me to give up my Skype on the PC yet.

    But i think the point is, not to berate the service on its first day. It will (and should) get better and they have definitely shown the way of things to come.

  6. I actually found the call quality to be very similar to that of my normal voice calls on my mobile. It certainly isnt crystal clear like the Skype CEO mentioned, but I didnt have to have things repeated. There was a tiny amount of static in the back which wasnt disturbing.

    I guess to conserve bandwidth space on Three’s network, Skype have probably put a software limit on the amount of bandwidth a call can use. Or, three might have put a limit on what Skype can use. I am sure it’s probably related to something like this.

    However, it doesnt seem to bother me.

  7. I had problems Saturday and Sunday with logging into SKYPE. Just took battery out and restarted phone – and logged into SKYPE no problems. The first stage is to ask you if you want to add contacts to your phone book. After I clicked YES, It logged in no problems – and fast. Now a very hapy customer. The service in my SKYPE store in SouthEast London (Bexleyheath) is better than any I have enountered in any mobile phone store anywhere.

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