It looks like iPhone users are very interested in making VoIP calls over 3G networks, as Skype said its 2.0 version of the iPhone app has been well received.
“We’ve had millions of downloads to date,” Russ Shaw, Skype’s general manager for mobile, told Reuters. “That’s really positive.”
The latest version enables iPhone users to use AT&T’s mobile data network to make free Skype-to-Skype calls, while the previous version only allowed the VoIP calling over WiFi networks. One of the reasons AT&T users are eager to get this product now is that Skype said it will start charging users a monthly fee, starting in August, to make VoIP calls over cellular data networks.
Shaw didn’t dive into specifics about how much the fee will be but he did say the company doesn’t want to “price ourselves out of the market,” particularly because consumers currently use it for free. The calling service works well, offers near CD-quality audio and it should only become more useful once the iPhone OS 4.0 software enables it to run in the background. But it’s going to be difficult to get a large number of users to pay extra per month, especially now that AT&T is ditching its unlimited plans for data.
There’s a method behind Skype’s madness though, as the company recently inked a deal with Verizon Wireless. This deal brings the calling service to Big Red’s Android and BlackBerry smartphones and it will even utilize Verizon’s voice network, free of charge, to ensure a higher level of audio quality. This service is expected to be free for the foreseeable future and it could be an important difference between the two carriers – heck, the Skype app is featured prominently in one of the “Droid Does” commercials.
So, what do you think readers? Will you pay a monthly fee for Skype on the iPhone?
– Skype 2.0 for iPhone (FREE) [iTunes link]