When we started this site almost five years ago, we wrote often about the idea of phones that could use voice-over-IP technology like Skype in WiFi zones to bypass network providers. There were a number of WiFi phones launched but at some point, the idea seemed to fizzle out.
But maybe the idea didn’t die because on Tuesday March 31st, Skype will launch an application that will allow iPhone (and iTouch??) users make calls with their service in WiFi zones. Calls to other Skype users will be free and calls to land phones across the world will be at their usual low rates. The WSJ says:
EBay Inc.’s Skype unit plans to release a version of its Internet-based phone software for Apple Inc.’s iPhone.
The move, set to be announced Tuesday, puts Skype more directly in competition for wireless voice services with network operators such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless.
Skype’s software, which can be downloaded free, allows iPhone users to call other Skype users on computers or supported cellphones free if they are in a Wi-Fi hot spot. Or they may call land lines for a fee, typically 2.1 cents a minute.