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Mobile VoIP kit unveiled

Call Skype for free using your old handset

A Norwegian company has found a use for that old mobile phone that's been kicking around in your desk drawer.

IPdrum has developed software and a cable that can turn an old handset into a wireless gateway for Skype's VoIP (voice over internet protocol) application. VoIP is a telephone service that uses the internet as a global phone network. A prototype of the cable was on display this week at the CommunicAsia 2005 exhibition in Singapore.

The IPdrum Mobile Skype Cable connects a mobile phone to the USB and sound ports of a computer. When the software is installed, the handset can be used as a gateway for the Skype app, allowing you to forward calls to the mobile phone you currently use. Similarly, you can use the gateway to place a call using Skype. It can also be used to send and receive SMS (short message service) messages.

The Mobile Skype Cable will be particularly useful for people who have a phone contract that allows them to make free calls to people on the same network, or to a group of friends and family. Those with this type of plan can use the cable to make free VoIP calls from anywhere using their mobile handset.

In addition to Mobile Skype, IPdrum has developed a cable that can be used with conventional fixed-line phones. However, the company has chosen to focus on mobile phones because of the availability of service plans that allow free calls between users on the same network.

The Mobile Skype Cable and software will be available worldwide in August. It’s expected to retail for between £30 and £40.

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