Skype Throws Cold Water on Cell Version

Don't expect a version of Skype for cellular phones anytime soon. A company executive told Reuters Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that data plans are still too costly to make such a version viable.

While it may seem to many like a cop-out, especially considering it has already teamed with British cellular provider 3 to offer a mobile version of its software. However, that company offers a flat rate for data access, something no other carrier is doing.

Those attempting to use the software developed for 3 on another network would find it inoperable: the company actually uses a voice channel to place the data calls.

Until then, it's likely that Skype will not release any kind of mobile version. According to Eric Lagier, the company's hardware and software business development chief, the decision is also based on ensuring customers do not run up high data bills.

"We don't want to be in a situation where we say: 'Skype is free' and then at the end of the month the user gets this huge broadband bill," he told the news service.

In any case, Skype's hand may be forced by its competitors. At least one, UK-based Truphone, has already released software that allows users to place VoIP calls on Wi-Fi equipped Nokia phones. Outside of Wi-Fi hotspots, the phone acts as a normal cell phone.

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