MoSkype USA?

12:15 PM -- U.K. mobile operator Three UK has just started the second phase of its Skype phone launch, allowing free international mobile calls among the U.K., Ireland, Australia, Hong Kong, Italy, and other countries.

In the U.K., the 3 Skype phone costs £49.99 (US$103) on pre-pay packages when users top-up their accounts at least £10 ($21) each month. The phone is free for monthly contract subscribers. Skype-to-Skype calls and instant messages are free.

The operator says that the U.S. is already the second most popular destination for Skype-to-Skype calls from the device. Which leads me to wonder if -- or when -- we might see a similar device launched in the U.S.

My sense is that it could be a while. Carriers in the U.S. are still at the stage of blocking Skype calls rather than looking at the VOIP service as a way to get new customers on their networks. Indeed, it is likely that 3 developed the Skype system because it's the new player on the U.K. mobile scheme and thus needs innovative ideas to set it apart from larger rivals.

Nonetheless, a U.S. carrier that sold a Skype phone could truly say it's practicing what it preaches when it comes to open access on cellular networks.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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