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Skype For Mobile Still Has A Long Way To Go

Skype, still eBay's (although nobody knows why) voice over Internet Protocol service, announced recently that it had begun testing a version of its software for the 50 most popular mobile phones capable of running Java. The beta software runs on phones from Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. Does this mean that free VoIP calling from your mobile phone is finally reality? Um, no, says Ars Technica, not quite.

The beta software provides basic Skype stuff, like chat, online friends lists and the ability to make and receive Skype calls. However, this does not mean that you download software and are suddenly free from the necessity of a cell phone minutes plan. For starters, users will only be able to receive calls from Skype users and through SkypeIn, the service that lets regular phones call Skype numbers); the ability to make calls to Skype users and through SkypeOut is only available in the following markets (no, the USA is not included): Brazil (Rio de Janeiro), Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Poland, Sweden and the UK.

Also, Skype for mobile still uses your carrier's voice and data networks in order to communicate with its server. This means that in order to carry out voice calls, Skype still costs you cell minutes in addition to any SkypeIn or SkypeOut fees. Yep, that means that Skype-to-Skype calls still cost you minutes-and chatting and interacting with the software taps into your data usage plan. So, what's the point, you ask? Well, it's a start

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