White Plains, N.Y. -
is coming to more cellphones in the U.S. now that a free Skype app is available for download on 12 unlocked Nokia smartphones.
The Skype for Symbian client enables users to make free Skype-to-Skype calls anywhere in the world via the phones' GPRS, EDGE or 3G data channels and via Wi-Fi. The client also lets users make low-cost international calls to landlines and mobile phones via Skype's VoIP service.
The 12 phones are the Nokia N97, Nokia N97mini, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia 5530 XpressMusic, Nokia E72, Nokia E71, Nokia E63, Nokia E66, Nokia N96, Nokia N95, Nokia N95 8GB and Nokia N79. Prices range up to $539 on Nokia's Web site and retailers.
Another 12 phones available only outside the U.S. are also compatible with the new app, which is downloadable over-the-air from Nokia's Ovi Store.
The development follows the recent announcement by
that it will offer Skype's VoIP service over its cellular network on nine 3G smartphones in March, with more to come. Verizon's Skype calls, however, will go out over Verizon's voice channels, and minutes on Skype calls will count against a user's voice-minute bucket, the carrier said. The smartphones also require a data plan.
In another recent cellphone-VoIP development, Apple allowed VoIP calling over 3G cellular data with the launch of an Apple-authorized iPhone 3G app from
. iPhone VoIP apps previously were restricted to VoIP calls over Wi-Fi. Other AT&T phones also are compatible with VoIP apps that use cellular data channels to make calls.
For the unlocked Nokia phones, the Skype app lets phone users make free Skype-to-Skype calls to other Skype users around the world, save money on calls and text messages made to non-Skype landlines and mobile phones abroad, send and receive instant messages to and from individuals or groups, share videos and other files, receive calls to their existing online number, and see when Skype contacts are online and available to call or IM, Nokia said.