What is clear is that at some point in the coming months, it will become necessary to pay a monthly fee to Skype if you want to use the iPhone version of Skype to make calls over the mobile phone network. Mind you, this fee does not cover calls to ordinary telephones or mobile phones; for that, you’ll have to pay additional fees. The monthly fee we’re talking about here is just for the privilege of using the Skype iPhone app to make calls—even Skype-to-Skype calls—over the 3G network.
Skype-to-Skype calls made from the iPhone app will continue to be free when made over WiFi networks. Presumably such calls will also be free when made from the Mac or Windows version of Skype.
What’s really interesting is the way Skype is hoping to earn money here. Skype is not really talking about charging for using the 3G network per se; instead, Skype is talking about charging for that subset of calls made from the Skype iPhone App. Many laptop users get their internet connectivity via the mobile telephone network, using a 3G USB dongle, or a built-in 3G transceiver in their laptop. In many places it’s also possible to connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC, enable tethering, and share the iPhone’s internet connection with your computer. In this way it is possible to make free Skype-to-Skype calls over the 3G network from the Skype application running on your computer. Skype is not talking about charging these Mac & PC users for ordinary Skype-to-Skype calls. However, the exact same calls made from the iPhone will soon require payment of a monthly fee.
Skype seems to be betting that users will gladly pay a fee for the convenience of calling from the iPhone version of the program.
Who must pay for Skype-to-Skype calls?
- Skype continues to work as today, warning the user but functioning normally;
- Skype simply refuses to run; or
- Skype runs but detects the presence of the hack, and does not make calls without payment.