First look: Skype on iPhone

Skype has released an iPhone application and SearchNetworking ANZ took it through its paces – with mixed results.

Skype has launched an application for the iPhone, bringing its VoIP service to Apple’s mobile handset – but only on WiFi.

SearchNetworking ANZ has tried voice-over-WiFi and VoIP-over-mobile applications before. Neither were satisfactory.

We tried 3 Mobile Skype phone and found that voice quality was simply unacceptable on the carrier’s 3G network and quickly abandoned it in favour of conventional mobile calls.

Experiments with Fring’s iPhone application proved similarly frustrating. We configured Fring as a SIP client for a consumer-grade VoIP service from iiNet for SIP—over-WiFi calls and found sound quality was so poor that the software was not a feasible replacement for – or even an adjunct to – our VoIP line. Quality was also poor using Fring for Google Talk connections.

Skype on iPhone beats both of these solutions for sound quality. But in our brief tests the software frequently dropped calls, even though we were sitting less than one metre from our 802.11g WiFi router when making calls.

Our first call lasted a little over 30 seconds, before the software then dropped calls in under ten seconds three times in a row. A subsequent connection was sustained for more than one minute.

The software has a simple interface that will be easily navigable for any experienced iPhone or Skype user. It is free and available for download now in the App Store.

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