updated 12:25 pm EDT, Mon October 29, 2007
Multinational carrier 3 is nearing release of the Skypephone, a mobile device dedicated to eBay's VoIP service, Reuters says. Although phones centered around VoIP are not unusual, the Skypephone is the first to be sold by a standard phone carrier; typically, VoIP devices are sold either by independent makers or by VoIP-only companies such as Vonage. The phone also retains the features of more advanced cellphones, offering everything from games and a mobile web browser to watching TV and downloading music from the 3 MusicStore.
Voice and video calls made through 3's regular network have normal rates applied, but calls to other Skype users are free, potentially saving significant amounts if enough peers use the service. The phone will be available first in the United Kingdom on November 2nd, under two price plans: a pay-as-you-go option will cost £50, while choosing one of 3's contracts will make the phone gratis. Australia, Italy and other countries should receive the Skypephone in the near future.