Skype, the Internet telephony software provider, said on Monday it had reached a cooperation agreement with Motorola, the world's third-largest handset marker, aimed at increasing its penetration of its key wireless market. This is big news that was announced at the 3GSM show in Cannes, France. The reason it is big news is that we need the cellular manufacturer "big boys" on board to offer hybrid/combo WiFi/3G/cellular type devices (multiple wireless networks supported) that support VoIP clients, such as SIP, or the popular Skype VoIP client.
In fact, I've recently ranted about "one trick pony" WiFi phones and my desire for combo devices, so I was pleased to read that interest in combination cell and VoIP phones is growing from handset makers, according to executives attending the 3GSM Show. Unfortuately, the cell phone carriers are not too happy with these hybrid devices since they can go around their networks and thereby avoid charges. So kudos to Motorola for not cow-towing to the carriers! However, I wonder if the carriers won't support these hybrid devices? That may be difficult, since most cell phones use standard components, such as SIM cards, and follow the cellular wireless spec, whether its GSM, CMDA, etc. In theory, you can take a SIM card from a non-hybrid/combo cell phone and plug it into a hybrid/combo device and start making calls using the "unique SIM identification" So unless the carriers can somehow detect you are using a hybrid device, what are they going to do? Knock you off their network and not let you make calls? First of all, I don't think they can detect you are using a hybrid/combo device and secondly can you imagine the backlash is they did?
Here's the news from TMCnet.com:
Luxembourg-based Skype said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Motorola with the aim of having some Motorola Wi-fi or 3G phones pre-loaded with Skype software in the future.
"This is the first major handset manufacturer with whom we have signed such an agreement," Niklas Zennstrom, chief executive and co-founder of Skype, told Reuters in an interview at Cannes 3GSM, the world's largest mobile communications trade show, which opened on Monday.
At first, the pair will co-market products such as Bluetooth, or wireless, handsets.
Skype's software, which needs to be used with a high-speed Internet connection, enables users to make free phone calls over the Internet.
It has already attracted 26 million registered users since it was launched 18 months ago, and Skype said on Monday it was now attracting 140,000 new registered users a day.
Mobile phones and devices fitted with Skype software allow users to make free phone calls over the Internet to other mobile phones which have also been fitted or pre-loaded with its software. Its software also allows users to make cheaper international calls on mobile phones to non-Skype users.