Skype, the popular voice over internet phone (VoIP) service and a unit of eBay is chasing 30 million iPhone and iPod Touch users to boost its revenue by introducing the Skype for iPhone.
This means 30 million users of the iPhone and the iPod Touch worldwide will be able to download the Skype app through Apple's iTunes store and as usual, calls to other Skype users will be free, while calls to landlines and mobile phones can be made through Skype's SkypeOut for a charge.
Skype will be competing with other VoIP clients that are available on the iPhone, like the Fring, Truphone and Nimbuzz, but all of them are not as popular as the Skype.
"Skype software for the iPhone has been the number one request among our users. We are delighted to deliver on this request and put Skype into the pockets of millions of people around the world who are carrying iPhone and iPod touch devices," said Scott Durchslag, Skype's Chief Operating Officer.
Skype for iPhone will open up new ways for more than 400 million Skype users to stay connected and the application delivers core Skype capabilities including:
- Free Skype-to-Skype calls from any Wi-Fi zone to other Skype users worldwide
- Call landline or mobile phones at Skype's great low rates from any Wi-Fi zone
- Send/receive instant messages to/from individuals or groups via 3G, Wi-Fi, GPRS or EDGE (whichever is available)
- Receive calls to a personal online number on Skype
- See when Skype contacts are online/available to IM or talk
Skype for iPhone requires a Wi-Fi connection to make free Skype-to-Skype calls or low-cost Skype calls to mobiles and landlines. Users will not be charged by Skype for making and receiving Skype-to-Skype calls using an iPhone or iPod touch. Skype will charge nominal rates for using Skype to call landlines or mobiles.
The app uses Wi-Fi, 3G, GPRS or EDGE (whichever is available) to sign into Skype, update a contact list, maintain and update presence and send/receive instant messages. Skype recommends an unlimited data usage plan for using Skype over a mobile data connection to avoid being charged by a wireless service provider for 3G, GPRS and EDGE mobile data usage.
Profile pictures of other users in a Skype Contacts list are also visible, making it easy to identify them.
In addition, users can update their own Skype profile picture from within the Skype for iPhone app, either by choosing an existing image from a photo album on the device, or by using the camera on the iPhone to take a new photo.
Skype, the Luxembourg-based company was acquired by EBay in 2005 for $2.6 billion and this month, Skype, wanting to broaden its global market, said it plans to enter into the corporate business with the beta version of Skype For SIP for business users, as a step to generate a billion dollars in revenue for eBay by 2011. (See: Skype looks for corporate businesses to boost revenue)
Skype is used in almost every country on Earth, and people have made more than 100 billion minutes worth of free Skype-to-Skype calls since conversations over Skype can take place on computers, mobile devices and Skype certified hardware.
According to TeleGeography Research, Skype users spent 33 billion minutes talking to people in other countries in 2008, representing 8 per cent of all international voice traffic.