4 Reasons you wont have Skype on Cell phones anytime soon

Skype has been an amazing success in the wireline domain, with over 171 million registered users, availability in 28 languages, and a large eco-system of WiFi handsets and Cordless Phones (Netgear WiFi Phone), Telecom gateways (iSkoot), and ATA/Gateways (VoSky). However, Skype has a very limited presence on cellular networks.

Its not for lacking of trying – Skype probably has engaged cellular service providers, but with very limited success. For example, Skype has a partnership with the cellular provider ‘3’ to offer Skype on cellphones, but using a gateway from iSkoot rather than installing a Skype client on the mobile phone. This allows ‘3’ to utilize its voice network capacity and measure minutes of use. More importantly, it appears to be a great ploy to use Skype buzz to promote ‘3’s services on the X-series handsets. Likewise, even Skype’s short lived promotion with German cellular operator E-Plus was to promote its 3G service via Skype. Similarly, a partnership with Motorola to develop a Skype client has gone nowhere.

The primary reason wireless operators baulk at Skype is the fear of cannibalizing voice ARPU and over-utilizing its data network. Skype’s wireless ambitions haven’t succeeded, so Skype has resorted to complaining and petitioning the FCC. I’m sure wireless operators will welcome Skype into their backyard now!

For the following reasons, Skype will not be a mainstream cellular application anytime soon:

  1. Most mobile phones are closed. It is virtually impossible for a user to install a Skype client without the cellular operators support. These are the run-of-the-mill phones that comprise about 90% of mobile phones in the US (PDA’s, Smartphones, or Blackberrys are not in this category).
  2. Most users couldn’t install applications in mobile phones. Even if the users could install applications on a phone, many users don’t know how to do it. In theory, users could install applications in Java phones, but difficult in practice for ordinary users. It is much easier to install an application on a PDA, Smartphone, or a Blackberry, but still few people do it.
  3. Cellular networks are not geared for Peer-to-Peer (P2P). Skype uses P2P, and if a Skype application on a mobile phone acts as a ‘supernode’, it can be sending and receiving transmissions even when the user is not on a Skype call. This can clog up todays wireless networks quickly (even 3G), reducing the service experience for other wireless users as well.
  4. No quality guarantees. Skype is a VoIP technology, and in packet data networks, transmissions have to compete with other transmissions. In most cases, voice communication requires constant transmission in both directions, but this cannot be guarateed without Qualty of Service (QoS) guarantees.

Without cooperation from cellular providers, Skype may be limited to either complaining and petitioning the FCC and working with gateway providers such as iSkoot

IPdrum has a clugy way to use Skype from a cell phone.

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7 thoughts on “4 Reasons you wont have Skype on Cell phones anytime soon”

  1. Here’s a funny thing: I’ve never used skype. I have a land line, its cheap and reliable, and I don’t want to bother with the software and hardware to get skype working on my PC. Could skype save me a few dollars a month? Undoubtedly. But the marginal benefit of those few dollars doesn’t exceed the marginal cost to realize that savings so — meh, landline it is for me, however 1.0 that may be.

    I’d imagine much of the same thinking would permeate the mobile space. As I understand it, cell works better than Skype over Wifi or cellular data protocols, and costs less to boot. So what’s the motivation to demand Skype on cells anyway? The networking elements and online presence are appealing, but not appealing enough for me anyway.

    Anyway, I’m sort of curmudgeonly on these things – definitely not an early adopter here.

  2. For many, the primary reason to use Skype is for International calls. This is where the biggest benefit is. This is also the reason why Skype is more popular in Asia and Europe, where landline charges tend to be higher than in the US. The motivation for using Skpe on cellular is the same – cheap International calls + the convenience/mobility of cellular.

  3. It would be good to have something like Skype on my cell phone to make those costly international calls.

  4. I am much the same as Rod from techfold.com with two more points. 1. I don’t make very many international calls to begin with and 2. My company pays for my cellphone. Those two things together make it unlikely that I will go through the hassle of considering skype for right now.

    But then things change and we don’t know how things will be in a couple of years.

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  6. Why would worry about download Skype to installation on your portable devices, when you can have direct access to calling, ipTV, VOD, SMS, Email sending features that it is been offered by Raketu? Why would someone let ‘supernode’ crap screw up your device’s security setting and have to pay for another one?
    Let me share this with you all.

    Raketu’s RakWeb lets you do all the stuff you can on a Skype client without downloading it. It is simple, all yuu need a registered RakID, an active internet connection and a net browser. Simply to go http://www.raketu.com homepage sign in to your account, you are all set to go on board for this great journey of fun in Raketu’s innovative world! You will be able to make low-cost international phone calls on a business run, SMS friends on a road trip to Rocky Mountain, Email collegues about the latest news, that’s not all. You can also watch streamed ipTV and order videos from VOD right on your mobile phone. Its PC-based application offers dozens of services than Skype and other leading VoIP providers, why not give a try and forget about Skype’s ugly P2P with “Supernode” feature for a second, and indulge in a new world of clean pure P2P Raketu environment? Raketu application’s PC to Landline/mobile calls are currenly made available UNLIMITED FREE TO 43 COUNTRIES WORLDWIDE.

    This comment is published for the general purposes of spreading news to all of us who care about computer security and enjoy CHEAP, LOW VoIP calls plus other more enjoyable entertaining services available on the web.

  7. Minor corrections to be made to my previous post. If you are a mobile user, you should go to http://www.raketu.mobi to sign in to RakWeb account, or register for one if you do not already have one. Its core application though is only available from http://www.raketu.com.

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