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