Skype has tied up with one of Japan's largest telecommunications companies in a deal that will see its Internet telephony service offered on cell phones and to broadband, fixed line and cable TV customers.
The deal is potentially the largest Skype has done so far in Japan and ties it with KDDI, a carrier second only to NTT in terms of customers and reach. KDDI operates the country's number two cellular network, has a vast fixed line business that reaches millions of consumers and businesses, operates a nationwide fiber-to-the-home network, and holds stakes in the country's dominant WiMax and cable TV operators.
I could be wrong, but I don't believe KDDI's au even offers a smartphone yet. These Android units they're touting are for next year, so we won't see them until probably the Spring when all the new mobile phones come out in Japan.
This Skype deal seems a bit odd. I can use Skype on my iPhone in Japan to call other Skype users for free. It's been like that since Skype was made available for the iPhone in Japan. I don't use it much, but I have the option to use it over 3G or WiFi without incurring charges from my carrier beyond my data use. au is going to eventually charge for Skype usage? I can't see the appeal then of using Skype beyond the free introductory phase. Or perhaps I'm missing something from this story?