Update: A Skype representative told VentureBeat that Skype had chosen tokeep its app out of the U.S. Ovi store because of a pre-existing deal with Verizon. You can download Skype for Nokia Symbian phones by opening skype.com/m from your phone browser.
“Nokia adds Skype to Ovi store,” says an Engadget post being circulated this morning. Americans are in for a disappointment: Ovi doesn’t offer Skype to customers on AT&T and other U.S. networks. It doesn’t show up in the store for Americans. The Ovi website returns the error,”Sorry, this item is not available for your country.”
There’s a workaround we’ve tested at VentureBeat: Go to Ovi and install the free Fring client. After you register a username and password with Fring, it will prompt you to configure several add-ons, one of which is Skype.
Give Fring your Skype username and password. It will connect to Skype and show your contacts. When you press the telephone-handset icon to make a call, Fring will prompt you with four options: Fring call, Video call, Cellular call, and SkypeOut call.
SkypeOut will let you dial any phone in the world. You need to include a plus sign and the country code, such as +4152719629 for U.S. numbers. Skype’s super-cheap rates apply — 2.5 cents per minute or about $1.50 an hour for the continental USA. If you don’t have unlimited minutes on your plan, Skype via Fring is a cheap way to make voice calls once you’ve used up your plan’s monthly allotment.
The one big shortcoming of Internet calls is the two-way delay of up to several seconds between the time one party speaks, and the time the other party hears it. This delay prevents fast, real-time conversations where both people talk at the same time. You end up trading sentences back and forth, the way cops and cab drivers do with their dispatchers. A radio talk show producer told me it drives them crazy because of the dead air space between the host’s question to a caller, and the caller’s reply. You get what you pay for.