VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) has taken a beating of late with SunRocket's demise and Vonage's patent problems. But the mobile phone is about to give new life to VoIP, and become the king of all-around cheap calls in the UK.
The BBC reports that 3G-heavy mobile provider 3 will deliver a Skype phone in the UK that will allow free calls - minus the computer, headset or USB phone, and hassle.
Skype will be "fully integrated" in the 3 phone, coming in November, allowing "free mobile to mobile calls anywhere in the world" the BBC report says.
See also: Why Skype and Vonage must die
The move to "all you can eat"-style calling on a VoIP mobile phone will drive prices down with all carriers, one analyst told the BBC.
Looking into my crystal ball, I'd say the rumoured Google Phone, or GPhone, will be the first to fully integrate Skype in the US.
But it will not be the only player. With Vonage shares sagging following multiple patent rulings, Sprint Nextel, which now licenses its patent to Vonage, could take over Vonage and integrate VoIP services more cleanly than even Skype.
With 3G services in the US less uniform and ubiquitous than in the UK and Asia, unified communication services like RingCentral and newish technologies like Femtocells, which boost home cellular reception and offer VoIP access over cell accounts when at home, could prove popular for centralizing cheap communications on the mobile phone.