St Patrick’s Day has come and gone, but it is the one day of the year that makes us acutely aware of being Irish. With this comes plenty of family and friends scattered across the globe with whom we like to share a long-distance chat.
Making a call to your loved ones half way around the world can be expensive.
However, it seems the Irish are cottoning on to the trend of making inexpensive voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calls via the web.
The most well-known VoIP client is Skype and not only has it flourished on the desktop but, according to the latest research from mobile network 3 Ireland, we’re also using it on the go through our handsets.
On a daily basis, 3 customers are making more than 7,000 Skype-to-Skype calls. The reason for the popularity of Skype is that, as long as you are within your internet provider’s data package, it is completely free to makes calls from one Skype account to another, or if you are dialling a phone number abroad it is significantly cheaper than ringing from a mobile or landline.
According to 3, its customers are making use of this, too: more than 2,500 Skype calls per day are made from Skype-enabled 3 handsets to phone lines abroad. That’s almost 17,000 minutes of chatter with friends and family in far-flung places! Calls to landlines in Australia, China, the US and the UK are €0.02 per minute, while calling a landline is South Africa is €0.06 and Brazil is €0.05.
“All of our mobile phones come with a Skype client, which enables 3 customers to make free calls and send free instant messages to anyone on Skype, anywhere in the world. Not surprisingly Skype usage on your mobile is very popular on 3, with over three million minutes of Skype chat per month.”
While Skype is ‘baked’ into the interface of some of its social networking-oriented phones such as the INQ1 and the INQ Mini, it can also be installed as a mobile application.
Smarter smart-phone users
As smart phones and internet-connected phones become ubiquitous, consumers are not willing to pay through the nose for phone calls from their mobile phone when they can go through an internet service and include the cost as part of their data package.
Last March, when Skype announced the availability of its ‘lite’ mobile version for the BlackBerry, COO Scott Durchslag said: “We have heard loud and clear that our users want Skype on whichever smart phone they choose to use.” A while later, a Skype iPhone app was added to the App Store. This, says Skype, was the No 1 request amongst users.
Reminder: $2.7m Apps Challenge
Irish software developers who want to create innovative mobile phone apps for a global smart-phone market and vie for their share of a $2.7m prize are reminded that next Thursday, 25 March, Samsung will be holding a Developers’ Day at the Mansion House in Dublin.
By Marie Boran
Topmost photo: The INQ1 and the INQ Mini
Photo below: The Samsung Wave