Mobile network 3 has opened up its UK mobile network to allow anyone with a 3 mobile sim card and a compatible 3 mobile phone to make unlimited Skype-to-Skype internet phone calls and text messages without ever having to pay.
Compatible 3 mobile phones include the 3 mobile network’s INQ1 mobile handset, which was given a test drive by Which? in the Which? mobile phone review.
What is Skype?
Skype is the UK’s most popular voice over internet protocol (Voip) service. When you make a Voip phone call, your voice is carried over an internet connection rather than a traditional phone line.
This way of making phone calls is much cheaper than traditional landlines so lets Voip providers like Skype offer very cheap phone calls and even free phone calls to users of the same Voip service. You can find out more about making cheap internet phone calls in the .
Skype has been available using a computer and a fixed-line broadband service for several years, and Skype has recently launched first standalone portable videophone that’s compatible with the Skype service (see the Which? review of the Skype Asus Videophone).
Skype on your 3 mobile phone
More and more companies – like 3 mobile – are integrating Skype applications into their mobile handsets so they can make Skype calls on the go over the mobile internet. This allows mobile users to make free calls over the internet to friends using Skype all over the world.
From 1 May, there will be no data charges or top-up fees for either mobile contract or mobile pay-as-you-go customers who use Skype on 3’s network. Anyone with a 3 mobile handset will be able to buy a 3 mobile sim card with Skype enabled for £2 and talk as much as they want to other Skype users for no extra cost.
Which? phone expert Ceri Stanaway says: ‘Money’s tight for many of us at the moment, and if you’ve got lots of friends or relatives who also use Skype, 3’s offer could be a great way of cutting the cost of your mobile phone calls as long as you’re only contacting other Skype users.
‘Remember that calls to non-Skype users will still come at a cost though, even if you’re calling using your Skype service. When choosing a mobile phone and mobile contract, think about all of the different types of phone calls you make and how much each mobile service provider charges.’
For more on choosing the right mobile tariff, check out the Which? guide to choosing a mobile tariff.
Free Skype mobile calls for all
During the summer, 3 mobile will expand its offer to make it possible for anyone with a compatible 3G phone to take advantage of free Skype calls, whether or not their phone is from 3. Anyone that wants to talk on a mobile for free will be able to use a Skype-enabled 3 mobile sim card to make and receive totally free Skype-to-Skype calls and to use Skype’s instant message service.
Kevin Russell, Chief Executive Officer of 3 UK, said: ‘Internet calling or VoIP, social networking, instant messaging and email are used by millions in the UK every single day. They are open to all on their PCs and laptops. We want people to be free to communicate from their mobiles in the same way as they do from their PCs.
‘In future you will be able to buy a 3 sim for unlimited Skype-to-Skype calls for less than the price of a cup of coffee and talk for as much as you want without ever paying us another penny.’
Mobile network 3’s new offer follows Apple’s launch of Skype for iPhone – available from the Apple App store.
See how Which? members rated 3 and the iPhone’s network operator O2 in the latest Which? mobile satisfaction survey.
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