Never mind face-time, Skype has done an about-face when it comes to its plans to charge for VoIP based calls over 3G, deciding to let the unwashed masses have their fill for free.
The news was delivered to the public via Skype’s blog, along with the announcement that the firm’s iPhone app would now also work in the background as users multitasked. So, yes, you can now surf the net while offering your mother the perfunctory “uh-huhs” required of you during your daily call.
“You can receive Skype calls while other apps are running, even when your iPhone is locked,” gushed Skype blogger Peter Parkes.
Parkes also seemed rather excited that his firm had “updated the app’s graphics to support iPhone 4’s Retina Display,” and added better sound quality.
And yet, the app plus the accompanying service is still free, contrary to plans by the VoIP maker to monetize 3G based calls. Some may find this mighty altruistic of Skype, but cynics might be able to read between the bloggy lines of Parkes’ parlance.
According to Parkes, Skype believes “that the mobile world is in a period of significant change, for example, with some operators starting to move to tiered pricing models.
“In light of that, we no longer have plans to charge a supplement to make calls over 3G.” Hmm, a carrier cut for Skype then?
Whatever is in the deal for Skype, we can only assume it is not doling out free service from sheer loving kindness. Indeed, Parkes also expressed hope the improvements would “lead to increased call frequency and longer calls,” which would presumably shift lots more voice minutes to data based VoIP. Video would add an even heavier data guzzling component to this equation, making the “tiered pricing models,” of which Parkes speaks even more interesting.
For the moment, however, Skype fans don’t seem to be thinking of the future prospects of higher or tiered data pricing plans based on usage. “Awesome. Is Android next?” asked one Skype fan in the blog’s comment section.
“I’m pleased to see that you fine folks have changed your mind regarding the additional fees for 3G calling Now, how about that video calling?” asked another.
Sheesh, you give an inch they take a mile, eh?
Skype won't charge for mobile calls