Skype has partnered with German mobile carrier E-Plus, the first step in a
strategy to extend its VoIP
Beginning in October, Skype’s software will be bundled with E-Plus’
flat-rate data-subscription plan. Initially, it will be available on
handsets, but other handset vendors are expected
to be added.
Luxembourg-based Skype said Germany is a key market. Nearly 3 million of
Skype’s 52 million worldwide users live in the country.
E-Plus has 9.8 million total subscribers and operates a third-generation
firm offering calls over E-Plus’ network.
Skype is talking with other mobile carriers, as well, Skype spokeswoman Kelly Larabee said. She declined to say whether that included operators in the United States.
“We can’t say specifically, but [the United States] is a market we’re keenly
interested in,” Larabee told internetnews.com.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. A spokeswoman for E-Plus,
Germany’s third-largest wireless carrier, was not immediately available for
“The use of Skype is growing
strongly,” E-Plus CEO Uwe Bergheim said in a statement. “Through our cooperation we are combining the advantages of mobile and stationary Internet access.”
Skype’s mobile move comes amid a flurry of activity in the VoIP space. Just
The San Francisco-based company’s products allow for PC-to-PC calls, as well
as PC-to-landline calls. The deal accelerates Microsoft’s VoIP capabilities
and sets the stage for a showdown in the VoIP-over-IM space, as AOL and Yahoo
prepare to launch their respective services.