Start-Up Intros Software For Skype Calls Over Cell Phones

Start-up iSkoot is piggybacking on Skype to bring free international phone calls from cell phones.

August 1, 2005

2 Min Read
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With more than 45 million users, Skype Technologies has carved out a market by piggybacking on the world’s telephony networks; now start-up iSkoot is piggybacking on Skype to bring free international phone calls from cell phones. iSkoot said Monday it is offering free Beta software for its service, which will eventually cost $9.95 a year.

In an interview, iSkoot’s CEO and founder Jacob Guedalia said he has not talked with Skype about his service and a Skype spokesperson said she hadn’t heard of iSkoot.

“We’re empowering people to be their own international carrier,” said Guedalia. “We’re basing this on the PBX concept where local calls are free. We create a gateway for people to make international calls over their PCs.” Users initiate calls by sending a text message to iSkoot, which establishes the connection. The Beta currently operates only with incoming calls, although Guedalia said the outgoing feature should be available in a few days.

Guedalia, a successful entrepreneur who has started three firms, said he and his brother are supplying the venture financing for iSkoot along with Jesselson Capital Corp. of New York City. One firm started by Guedalia, Mobilee, was sold to NMS Communications for $13 million, Jacob Guedalia noted.

Another firm that plans to bring free and inexpensive international calling through Skype is IPdrum of Norway, which has a hardware-based solution, the IPdrum Mobile Cable. IPdrum plans to offer its cell phone calling solution in retail stores in Scandinavia and on its Web site later this month. The IPdrum approach, which requires users to have a second cell phone and SIM card connected to their PCs, also requires users to purchase a cable for $70 or so, according to the firm’s press materials.With more than 45 million users, Skype is the largest of the VoIP suppliers. Skype users can call each other free of charge while calls between Skype users to people connected to public switched telephone networks cost less then 3 cents a minute over Skype features called SkypeOut and SkypeIn.

Guedalia and his brother have filed several patents originating from their work in telecommunications, Jacob Guedalia said. He said he hopes cell phone service providers will one day use iSkoot features to offer a service so cell phone callers could easily place some of their calls.

As for Skype, the Luxembourg-based firm has been forging its own partnerships with mobile users, usually leveraging Wi-Fi wireless technology. Last month Skype established Skype Zones with Boingo Wireless to use the latter’s 18,000 Wi-Fi hotspots to deliver Skype VoIP phoning. Another deal with Carrier Devices, which makes the I-mate line of wireless phones, also utilizes Skype services for Wi-Fi and GSM phoning.

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