The wait is over. It’s been a long time coming, but you can now finally make calls using Skype (s ebay) over 3G.
Version 2.0 of Skype’s free iPhone (s aapl) app can be downloaded from the iTunes store now. However, despite making 3G VOIP calls a reality, it’s not all good news: the feature will soon become a premium option. Skype has detailed that starting late August 2010 the company will introduce a small fee that users will be required to pay on a monthly basis in order to use the Skype-to-Skype 3G call making feature.
From now until the unspecified August date users can try the new feature free-of-charge. Our early tests have proven the service works well with voice quality being surprisingly crisp and clear. Skype has described the quality of calls as near “CD-quality sound”; of course this all depends on how good your signal is.
When in a call the typical speaker, mute, hold and number pad options are available, users can also navigate around the Skype application at leisure. Sadly, pressing the iPhone’s home button to access other applications is not available, although running the Skype app in the background is something which will hopefully be introduced once OS 4.0 arrives. Other improvements to the updated application include an improved start-up time and the ability to access Skype’s dial pad quickly from the iPhone’s home screen.
Skype’s Russ Shaw, General Manager for Mobile, said the following about the new Skype features:
Using Skype on iPhone without being restricted to the availability of a WiFi network will open up new ways for Skype customers to stay connected and make free or low-cost calls whenever they want, wherever they are in the world.
You can download the updated iPhone application from the iTunes store now. If you give the app a try, be sure to let us know your thoughts on the new 3G call capabilities in the comments.
UPDATE: It was originally presumed that 3G calls would only be free until the end of August, however the Skype application’s fine print has revealed that the calls could be free “until the end of 2010.” Skype officials have not clarified on the matter, but we may be getting free 3G calls for longer than expected.