Monday, March 20, 2006

EQO Brings Skype to Cells

RED HERRING writes that "Canadian startup, EQO Communications, introduced a mobile service on Wednesday that enables Skype users to exchange instant messages in addition to making VoIP calls over a wireless network."

According to the article, "the service works on more than 40 models of phones that run J2ME (Java 2, Micro Edition), including Nokia, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson phones. Users can communicate with any of the Skype users on their buddy list or conduct multiparty chat sessions."

Tole Hart at Gartner commented that he "sees the value of the service for Skype users, but doesn’t think it will save them much money on their phone bills because it still requires the wireless carrier’s phone network."

Hart said, "It’s kind of like an extension of Skype, but it’s more a matter of convenience. It could save you some money on international calling in some areas, and in Europe in certain countries where you’re using international roaming. But it’s more about being an extension of Skype. They want adoption and they don’t want to anger the carriers."

Hart also pointed out that "Skype uses a large amount of bandwidth, which could also affect call quality." He added, "The wireless networks right now, as far as data goes, are not set up for Voice over IP, so your experience might not be that good either. Basically, if you like using Skype, it gives you a way to access it on the mobile phone.”