by CIO Staff

Service Enables Skype Users to Talk Via Cell

Feb 08, 20062 mins

Current Skype users can already talk to each other for free or next to nothing, but they’ve got to be near a computer-unless the user has Skype’s phone that connects to wireless networks.

Vancouver, B.C.-based Eqo Communications on Tuesday changed that when it launched its mobile Internet phone service that allows users to talk via cell phones, CNET reports.

The move is sure to send phone carriers like AT&T and Verizon back to drawing board to devise some strategy for competition. 

What’s unique is that making a phone call using Eqo’s service doesn’t require a phone number.  Eqo users contact each through buddy lists or identities. 

Eqo CEO Bill Tam told CNET the idea is to allow users who don’t know each other, and therefore may have reservations about providing their phone number, to contact one another without putting up something so personal as a phone number.

“Skype took a buddy list-centric view of how communities work with names rather than numbers,” Tam told CNET  “It’s an example of how to take (lessons) of instant messaging and apply it to voice.”

Eqo users can easily tell when “buddies” are available and contact them on a mobile phone, as long as said phone supports Sun Microsystems’ Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME).  Currently the Eqo service does not function on services like Verizon Wireless, which employees Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW) to run dynamic applications, CNET said.

Eqo’s service is currently only available to Skype users.

For more on Skype, read Google Skype Back Global Wireless Project.

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