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Skype is about to expand its mobile footprint in a big way — and that’s not good news for network operators. The company joined Nokia (s nok) this morning in announcing the addition of Skype for Symbian to the carrier’s Ovi Store, enabling users of Symbian^1 devices to make Skype calls via both cellular and Wi-Fi connections.
Skype introduced a beta version of its Symbian client in December, but the Ovi Store deal provides an enormous opportunity to tap Nokia’s worldwide footprint. The store supports more than five dozen Symbian-based handsets and has picked up momentum in recent months, delivering roughly 1.5 million downloads a day. And the ability to deliver free international Skype-to-Skype calls surely holds great appeal for users in emerging markets, where Ovi has gained substantial traction. Today’s news won’t mean much to carriers in the U.S., where Nokia continues to struggle to gain market share, but it poses a serious threat to the bottom line of carriers in a huge number of markets around the world.
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