Make free mobile Skype calls on 3
- How to get a free 3 Sim card to get free Skype calls
- Which mobile phone handsets can be used for Skype
- Getting Skype on your mobile if you're not a 3 customer
- When and how to get free Skype on your unlocked handset
What is Skype?
Skype is an internet service that allows free calls to other Skype users in the UK or abroad, and ‘chat’ (send instant messages) free of charge, via Voip (Voice over internet protocol).
If you don’t want to Skype using a PC or Mac, then the standalone Asus Eee Skype videophone could be what you need. Read our first look review of the Skype videophone.
How to get free Skype calls on 3 mobile
Skype has been available on 3 since 2006, and is currently free on all 3 contract tariffs, which start from £9 a month. It’s also free to 3 pay-as-you-go (PAYG) customers.
Skype has proved very popular on 3, and the network claims that ‘over one million minutes of free Skype to Skype calls are made on 3 every day’.
Since 1 May 2009, 3 has opened up its network to allow anyone with a 3 Sim card and a compatible handset to benefit from free unlimited Skype-to-Skype calls and instant messages, as long as they top up at least every 90 days to keep their Sim card active
To be compatible, the mobile phone handset must have 3G (third generation) high-speed mobile web access. For more information see our Mobile phone features explained page.
Currently the phone will need to be a 3 mobile handset, but 3 is reportedly making it possible to use any unlocked 3G handset later in 2009. (See Can I get free mobile Skype on my existing mobile phone? below)
If you’re a 3 PAYG or monthly contract customer
Check if your mobile handset is Skype enabled by plugging in your handset details on the 3 website, or checking our handset list below. If your phone is Skype enabled, on your mobile go to Favourites (called QuickLinks or Launcher on some mobiles) and click on Skype. Then set up a username and password or sign in if you’ve already got a Skype ID
If you’re not a 3 mobile customer
You can request two free PAYG Sim cards from the 3 website, or they’re available free on request in 3 stores across the UK. Find your nearest 3 store.
The free 3 Sim card will work in any 3 PAYG handset.
Alternatively, there’s also a ‘Sim Zero’ contract Sim with no monthly cost, and a one month’s notice period if you want to end the contract. Sim Zero lets you make free Skype-to-Skype calls ‘for the rest of your life without having to pay anything, ever’ according to 3.
The network hopes you will also make normal calls or send texts, which are charged at 3’s standard rates of 20p per minute, or 10p per text. Any charges come out of your monthly direct debit.
The ‘free Skype’ service on 3 means that you can make unlimited Skype-to-Skype calls to anyone using Skype on a computer, videophone or mobile phone. What you won’t be able to do is make free calls to non-Skype numbers (called ‘Skype out’ calls), as these are charged at standard Skype rates.
Free mobile Skype will possibly be most useful for anyone with a 3 mobile phone and friends or relatives abroad who use Skype. By using Skype to make free international calls you’ll save on international landline call costs or charges for calling a foreign mobile.
Can you use free mobile Skype when abroad?
3 have disabled Skype from connecting on your mobile while you’re abroad (roaming) so, for free Skype calls while travelling, you’ll need to use Skype on a laptop or netbook, or find an internet café with Skype installed.
Can I get free mobile Skype on my existing mobile phone?
If you’ve got an unlocked 3G mobile from another mobile network, such as Orange, O2, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile, or Vodafone you can put in a 3 Sim card. This will let you make calls, send SMS and have web access, but not make Skype calls.
According to a spokesperson for 3, later in 2009 the network 'will be making a Skype application available for a range of top-selling non-3-branded 3G handsets.
Consumers will be required to put a 3 Sim into their unlocked handset, and follow the step-by-step instructions to get free Skype-to-Skype calling and Instant Messaging from the UK via the 'Skype on 3' application.
'3 has developed a special architecture for Skype to ensure it is free to use for customers. Any customer who downloads a Skype client from anywhere other than us directly will not be guaranteed free Skype-to-Skype calls with 3.'
In the meantime, to get free mobile Skype on 3 you’ll have to use a 3 mobile handset.
Which mobile phone handsets come with free Skype on 3?
If you’ve one of the following mobile phone handsets on the 3 network, then Skype should already be installed and set up. We’ve provided links to Which? reviews so you can choose the best mobile phone for your Skyping.
- INQ1 Skypephone - Read the Which? review of the INQ1 Skypephone
- 3 Skypephone S2
- LG KF310
- LG Viewty U990i Read the Which? review of the LG Viewty U990i
- LG KC910 Renoir Read the Which? review of the LG KC910 Renoir
- Nokia 3120
- Nokia 6120
- Nokia 6700
- Nokia E71 - Read the Which? review of the Nokia E71
- Nokia N96 - Read the Which? review of the Nokia N96
- Nokia N97 - Read the Which? review of the Nokia N97
- Sony Ericsson C510
- Sony Ericsson C903
- Sony Ericsson G502
- Sony Ericsson W595 - Read the Which? review of the Sony Ericsson W595
- Sony Ericsson K660i (available in silver and black) - Read the Which? review of the Sony Ericsson K660i
- Sony Ericsson W995
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