New Skype phone doesn’t do VoIP calls

When I’ve spoken about the Skype phone before, I was operating under an assumption. I thought the skype phone would be dual mode. That is, normal cell phone calls would go out over the normal GSM network (like every other GSM phone call), and calls to skype contacts would go out over the 3G network basically as a data, VoIP driven call.

However, news comes this morning from Markus Gobel that this isn’t the case. It turns out that 3, the European cell phone company that carries the skype phone, is merely running iSkoot. iSkoot is a service that acts as a proxy between a normal phone call and the IP network that skype runs on. So basically when you make a call to your skype friends on the new phone, it’s a normal call back to the cell tower, then iSkoot carries it over to the skype network.

This is disappointing because I thought skype was finally moving ahead with making mobile headway and allowing users to use skype on the go. There’s a service I’ve been testing called Fring that works on a Nokia N95 that allows me to do skype calls and skype chats; all over the DATA network, not a GSM call. It works great on 3G and on Wi-Fi but I’ve found that over edge it’s not the greatest connection for a voice call.