London, 23 April. In a world first, 3 UK is opening up its network to allow anyone with a 3 SIM and a compatible handset to enjoy unlimited Skype-to-Skype calls and instant messages without ever having to pay.
From 1 May, there will be no data charges or top-up fees for either contract or pay-as-you-go customers who use Skype on 3’s UK network. Anyone with a 3 Skype-enabled handset will be able to buy a 3 SIM and talk as much as they want to other Skype users without ever having to pay another penny.
During the summer, 3 will expand its offer making it possible for anyone with a compatible unlocked 3G handset in the UK, to take advantage of free Skype calls, whether or not their phone is from 3. Anyone that wants to talk on a mobile for free will be able to use a Skype-enabled 3 SIM to make and receive totally free Skype-to-Skype calls and to use Skype’s instant messaging (IM).
By removing these key barriers to Skype-to-Skype calls, 3 UK is creating a compelling reason for new customers to join 3 and to enjoy all the products and services available on the UK’s biggest mobile broadband network.
Kevin Russell, Chief Executive Officer of 3 UK, said:
“Communication through the internet is exploding. Internet calling or VoIP, social networking, instant messaging and email are used by millions in the UK every single day. They are open to all on their PCs and laptops. We want people to be free to communicate from their mobiles in the same way as they do from their PCs.
“In future you will be able to buy a 3 SIM for unlimited Skype-to-Skype calls for less than the price of a cup of coffee and talk for as much as you want without ever paying us another penny. We won’t ask you for a top-up or a monthly commitment. If you want to talk on a mobile for free, just join us and give it a go. This is for everyone.”
Josh Silverman, President of Skype said:
“Demand for mobile access from our users has never been higher. The introduction of unlimited Skype-to-Skype calls and instant messages across all 3 price plans is a really exciting move from a key partner. 3 UK clearly understands the desire for people to use Skype wherever and whenever they want. This is the first mobile network to show this kind of innovation to enable their customers to access Skype.
“We believe this is how the future looks for the Internet on mobile. With this bold move 3 UK has again shown their willingness to be the customer champion for mobile services in the UK.”
Currently, 3 UK’s growing Skype community enjoys 1.5 million minutes of free Skype-to-Skype calls every day. The launch of the first 3 Skypephone in October 2007 really kick-started the growth of free internet calling on the 3 network. With over 433 million people registered on Skype worldwide, the new free Skype-to-Skype offer from 3 opens up a world of free calling.
Two years experience of providing open access to Skype-to-Skype calling has enabled 3 and Skype to better understand the behaviour of mobile Skype users. Success with an easy-to-use Skype experience on more specialised internet-enabled handsets, such as the INQ1 and the 3 Skypephone collection; has proven to 3 that enabling customers to make free Skype calls to other Skype users on their mobiles or PCs is a real benefit.
3 UK has found that regular Skype users:
- Are less likely to churn than non-Skype users
- Use more traditional voice minutes than non-Skype users in addition to calling their Skype contacts
- Use Skype IM, but also send more SMS than non-Skype users
- Are more likely to browse the internet on their mobile
- Are higher margin customers
- Are twice as likely to access social networking sites as non-Skype customers
“Today we are moving in a clear direction towards making Skype-to-Skype calling available to all UK mobile consumers,” said Mr Russell. “We know that Skype users are instinctive communicators, keen social networkers and mobile internet users. They love the things that we are building the UK’s biggest mobile broadband network for.
“Our network is built to deliver the benefits of the internet to the mobile. That’s why we’re removing the conditions and restrictions from our current Skype offer and opening up the opportunity to try free internet calling to all UK mobile users, whether they are currently with us or a competitor network.”
Notes to editors.
The 3 UK free Skype calls offer will see:
• Unlimited free Skype-to-Skypecalling on pay-as-you-go tariffs with no need for monthly credit top ups. All new customers will need is a pay-as-you-go SIM from 3 costing £1.99, which can be used, initially in any Skype-compatible 3 handset.
• Unlimited free Skype-to-Skype calling on all 3 contract tariffs
• Wider availability of the Skype on 3 application which is already available on most of 3’s most popular handsets with many more versions planned. We are continuing to work on widening this selection to the most popular 3G phones which includes those on other networks.