Last week Skype iPhone application was approved by Apple and made available through the iTunes App Store.
This was one of the most anticipated application for the iPhone after Qik for the iPhone and cut/copy & paste.
For those who do not know what Skype is, please allow me to quickly explain. Skype is classified as a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service. It was created in 2003 by the trio, Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu and Jaan Tallinn who also created Kazaa, the peer-to-peer file sharing application.
The client application is also called, “Skype”, and it is a free download, you can install onto your mobile phone or computer, enabling you to make station to station calls free of charge over the IP network (ie. Internet).
In the past several years Skype had made its client available on Windows Mobile and Nokia phones, it is not until last week that this client is available on the iPhone. As in the past, this availability had not been well received by the global mobile carriers.
The Skype for iPhone is cripple in such a way that it cannot be used on the EDGE or 3G mobile network, and this mobile network block is done at the application level. Assuming this was the reason Apple was able to approve the application for the iTunes App Store.
I am sure that the only reason Skype and Apple had to impose this restriction is due to pressure from the mobile carrier partners around the world. I can’t believe these carriers are still focused on the old business model of making money off their customer through VAS (value added services).
The mobile carrier should wake up and begin to focus their efforts on delivering the best network quality and coverage to its customers. While at the same time make available high quality contents that customers are willing to pay for. Rather than placing restrictions on hardware manufactures and software developers, which results in slowing technology growth and adoption.
Although, Skype is accessible through WiFi network it is still not a good solution for mobility communication. As WiFi network in most cities are still not roam-able, meaning a client’s connection to one AP (Access Point) cannot be passed along to another AP while the client move about through out the city. Using Skype in such an environment makes it a good client for a stationary conversation within a WiFi hotspot.
Eventually wireless technology will develop in such a way that it will be roam-able and we will have seamless WiFi connectivity as we move about from hotspot to hotspot. At that time VoIP will become a definite challenge to regular cellular communication.