Skype For iPhone 2.0 Delivers 3G Calling On AT&T

A good bit of time has passed since Skype launched a dedicated application for Apple's iPhone OS. Last March, diehard VOIP users were elated to finally have their favorite calling program available with just a single finger tap, but one huge problem remained: you still needed a Wi-Fi hotspot in order to make or receive a call. Since that time, Skype on mobile calling was updated to support 3G calling, and while phones on Verizon Wireless supported it, the iPhone app mysteriously never did. Even last week, making a Skype for iPhone call required Wi-Fi, despite that limitation being removed elsewhere.

Now, that's different. A weekend 2.0 update has enabled the Skype for iPhone program to support making/receiving Skype-to-Skype, Skype Out, etc. calls over 3G, and this seems like a huge, huge move by AT&T. The carrier has been very careful to not open up native iPhone tethering yet as they try to carefully manage their 3G network congestion, and while this move probably won't add a lot of demand to the network, it's certainly yet another reason for you to tap into 3G.

But here's the catch: "Skype-to-Skype calls on 3G will be free for a trial period which will run until the end of 2010." Details of exact pricing setups are coming soon, but we're pretty much assured that pay-access is coming for 3G calling (though Wi-Fi calling will remain free). Of course, calls over 3G won't be nearly as clear and "solid" as those over the Web, but at least it's now available if you're in a pinch. The 2.0 Skype app can be downloaded now from the Apple App Store for free.

"Using Skype on 3G has been the number one request among our iPhone customers. This new version is a great step towards enabling our customers to take and use Skype everywhere they go”, said Russ Shaw General Manager for Mobile, Skype. “Using Skype on iPhone without being restricted to the availability of a WiFi network will open up new ways for Skype customers to stay connected and make free or low-cost calls whenever they want, wherever they are in the world.”

“We have a group of young tennis players that are constantly travelling inside Spain and around the world. One of them is my daughter, she travels a lot and we use Skype to communicate because it’s easier, faster and cheaper. The change of having Skype on the mobile phone has been crucial for us. Before we had to look for a computer in the tennis clubs and hotels and it was a real problem because it was very difficult to find one,” said Alexei Starkov, the physical/fitness coach of the Federación de Tenis de Madrid. “Tennis is an individual sport and when you travel by yourself at times you feel very lonely. Now with Skype for iPhone also allowing for calls over 3G you can call anytime and anywhere without having to find a WiFi spot.”

Additional new features of the Skype for iPhone application include:

  • Near CD-quality sound for Skype-to-Skype calls using wideband audio on iPhone 3GS or 2nd generation iPod touch and onwards.
  • Enhanced call quality indicator, which will help customers choose the best moment to call.
  • Improved start-up time
  • Rapid access to the dial pad from the home screen

The new version is compatible with the iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPod touch and iPad. Skype requires iPhone OS version 3.0 and above.

Calling functionality is available on iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and 2nd generation iPod touch onwards. iPod touch requires a compatible headset with a microphone.

The Skype for iPhone application is available to download for free from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch, or at