3UK announce a billion minutes

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

3 logo

INQ £15 Texter 18month contract

A billion minutes may not sound a lot to most telecoms companies, but 3UK have just passed a billion minutes of Skype calls on their network!  That’s an impressive figure.  The billionth minute was made by Stephen Timms (Minister for Digital Britain) to the CEO of Merlin (a medical charity).  It’s nice to see that 3UK have donated a small number of 3 SkypePhones to Merlin to allow them to communicate whilst they are out in Haiti.

This is an impressive figure, and in fact, 3UK have said that they are handled over 3 million minutes of Skype calls are handled every day!


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3UK now selling refurbished handsets

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

3 logo

INQ1 Silver £15 per Month, Free 3 to 3 calls at 3M

In a move said to be supporting the “Make do and Mend” movement, 3UK have announced that they are now selling refurbished handsets, which currently includes the Skypephone S2, the White Skypephone, and the LG KF310, although this list will vary as stock changes over time.

If you are interested, head to the 3UK Refurbished Handsets page on the 3UK website.


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INQ launch two new phones

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

INQ Chat & INQ Mini

Historically, the Skypephones and INQ1 were launched more by 3UK than by the manufacturer, but this has now changed; INQ has today released details of their two new phones, which will be in stores in time for Christmas.

Firstly, and after the success of the Nokia E71, we suspect the more popular device, is the INQ Chat.  This is a QWERTY based device designed to concentrate on Social Networking.  As well as the Facebook, Skype, and Windows Live Messaging support of the INQ1, these phones Twitter support, something we predicted a while ago.  This Twitter support includes providing the latest updates on the homescreen.

The INQ Chat also has a 3.2 megapixel camera, whereas the INQ Mini will feature a 2 megapixel camera, and both support upto 8GB (we’re guessing via a microSD card).  Both devices can operate as HSPA Modems for your PC, although whether this is inline with the 3UK T&Cs is another matter.

However, one interesting additional point is that via the third party DoubleTwist software, INQ plan to make it possible for both phones to be able to sync music with iTunes.  Although not aimed as iPhone killers, the ability to use a single source and program to manage your iPod and your mobile phone may sway some users into buying these devices.

We expect both will be available on 3UK around October time; although the Nokia N97 was the Top Seller with 3UK for a few weeks, the Nokia E71 is back in the top slot again, showing how popular the QWERTY format has been for 3UK, and remember that INQ and 3UK will be aiming these phones between £69.99 and £109.99 on PAYG; they have a good spec and are likely to be big sellers for 3UK when available.

Update: We’ve now had it confirmed that the INQ Chat does have GPS, but the INQ Mini does not; our main complaint against these devices (and their predecessors) is that Google Maps’ My Location feature (and by implication, Google Latitude) is unlikely to work on them, as there is no GPS, and Google Maps does not support Cell Based location on BREW based handsets, leaving no method to locate the phone.  This doesn’t apply to the INQ Chat, which will feature GPS and includes Google Maps.

Finally, it will be interesting to see whether or not we’ll see an update to the INQ1 Slider to offer Twitter support for the existing users; although it would be very nice to see, we suspect it may not happen (or at least not until well after the initial sales period for these new phones).

Some content courtesy of The Guardian [Via TRMP]


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INQ Mobile launch Customer Support site

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

INQ1

INQ1 Silver £15 per Month, Free 3 to 3 calls at 3M

INQ Mobile, the company behind the INQ1 mobile phone available on 3UK, have launched a new two-way customer support and suggestion website via GetSatisfaction.  This is an interesting move for INQ, as it should allow them direct access to their customers, and gauge the level of interest in new features or new devices.

This comes at an interesting time for INQ; we’ve already mentioned their plans for a “Twitter phone” in or before Q4 this year, but INQ’s CEO is on record stating they are planning two more INQ phones *and* a new Skypephone before the end of 2009.  INQ have also mentioned that they are talking to other operators, not just 3UK for these phones, both in the UK and abroad, so we may well see some of these new devices on other networks towards the end of this year or into 2010.

INQ also stated that they would be happy to remove the Skype client from the Skypephones to allow them to be sold on other networks.  This should allow INQ to start selling their devices around the world on mobile networks who don’t have the infrastructure to support the current INQ Skype client.

We know INQ are looking at QWERTY and GPS options for their devices, so maybe the new “Twitter phone” will be a QWERTY device to make tweeting even easier…


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3UK Skype Price Drop…

Friday, May 15th, 2009

3 logo

INQ1 Silver £15 per Month, Free 3 to 3 calls at 3M

We’re a big fan of 3 UK and also of Skype, so we are happy to promote the 3UK Skype Free Calls Forever promotion that 3 UK have launched.  Even better than that, they have just announced a price drop on two of their Skype phones on Pay As You Go (PAYG):

  • The INQ1 PAYG has dropped from £99.99 to £69.99
  • The Skypephone S2 has dropped from £99.99 to £69.99

This makes the 3 UK deal even better; for around £70 you can now buy a phone which will offer free Skype to Skype calls and not even need to topup the device to continue using it (although if you get the INQ1, we’d recommend it’s worth keeping the phone topped up and also getting Mobile Internet access on it to access the other Social Networking features of the phone).

Also, if you are on the lookout for a deal on 3 Mobile Broadband Starter Kits, 3 UK have just dropped the price of their 3GB Starter Kit from £59.99 to £49.99 (for selected USB Modems).

We believe all these deals are already available in the 3Store.


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Use 3UK to update your social networks for free!

Friday, May 8th, 2009

3 logo

INQ1 Silver £15 per Month, Free 3 to 3 calls at 3M

Thanks to Gerry over at nokiAAdict.com for alerting us to this information; the ability to update your social networks for free via 3UK…!

This needs a couple of different systems linked together, so we’ll explain what is involved…

You need to have a Skype account, and have a 3UK provided mobile phone which supports their “Skype at 3″ application (to test this, we used a simple 3SkypePhone, although the newer SkypePhone S2 or INQ1 may be more suitable as they are easier to obtain if you want to start from nothing).  Since May 1st, use of Skype on the 3 network is free, which means you can use the instant messaging part of the Skype application from your mobile even if you haven’t topped up recently (Skype used to need a regular topup to let you login), and there are no data, call, or text charges for using Skype for simple chats.

You also need an account at ping.fm, which is a site which allows you to post a single message to multiple social networks at the same time.  Once registered, you can provide ping.fm with your login details to the various sites you want to update in this way (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIN, Brightkite, Blogger, LiveJournal and even things like your AIM status or Google Talk Status can be set using ping.fm).

Once you have set these both up, you need to go to the ping.fm dashboard and link your Skype account to your ping.fm account (you’ll need to send a user specific verification code from your Skype client to the ping.fm Skype account (pingdotfm).  To setup the link, you’ll need to select “Skype” from the Services / Tools area of the Dashboard and follow the instructions.

Having done this, your accounts are now all linked up.  If you have configured multiple accounts in ping.fm, you can now use the Skype client to chat with the ping.fm Skype account.  One way to send a message is to send it to a single social network, eg

  • “@tt Hi everyone” would send it to Twitter, whereas @fb would send it to Facebook (this page has the full list of single service codes to use)

Alternatively, ping.fm has the ability to group your sites together; the initial groups created are “Statuses”, “Micro-blogging” and “Blogs”.  Once you have recorded whether or not each social networking site should or should not be included within these groups, you can them send to the group of sites with a single Skype chat message.  Instead of starting with @tt though, you need to start with @s, @m or @b for statuses, micro-blogs and blogs respectively.

This wasn’t possible until recently when ping.fm added support for Skype.  Although we’ve covered ways of using Skype and Twitter together before, this is one of the most professional ways we’ve seen so far.

Oh, and if you go and drag an old 3 SkypePhone out of the cupboard to try this out, you may find you need to update the Skype client on the device for it to work without credit and let you login.  If so, select Menu, Games & Apps (top right), My Applications, and then Options (left softkey) and Check upgrade; we found we needed the latest version (v3.64.0.1) for it to work (you will most likely find other devices have different versions, but you may still need to install the latest version).


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Free Skype on 3UK, today, and every day

Friday, May 1st, 2009

3 logo

INQ1 Silver £15 per Month, Free 3 to 3 calls at 3M

As from today, using Skype on 3UK (with the Skype on 3 application) is now free.  You don’t need to topup, and there are no data charges at all for the use of Skype.  This is not just a promotion, this is a permanent price change from 3UK.

Right now you need a 3UK-supplied handset running their Skype on 3 application, but later in the Summer 3UK will be opening this offer up to any 3G capable handset that can run their Skype on 3 application (you’ll simply need a 3UK SIM).  More news from last week here on this.

If you don’t have a 3UK phone, then either the INQ1 or the Skypephone S2 are available from the 3Store.  Of course, you could take a higher spec phone, such as the Nokia E71 instead.

We support moves like this, although maybe one day we’ll see 3UK simply bundling free internet access with all contracts…


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3UK to offer Skype for free

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

3 logo

INQ1 Silver £15 per Month, Free 3 to 3 calls at 3M

This morning at a press briefing, 3UK have announced that from May 1st users with a 3UK SIM and a 3-provided Skype-enabled handset will be able to use Skype for free.  This means no need to topup (previous deals for free Skype involved a monthly topup of £10 on PAYG), and there will be no data charges at all; Skype will be completely free (subject to their standard fair use policy).

Even better, later this year (around Summer), 3UK will also open this offer up to 3UK SIMs and non-3-provided phones (they still need to be compatible with 3’s “Skype on 3″ solution).  However, 3UK also mentioned they are hoping to expand the range of phones that the Skype on 3 service supports.  3UK also confirmed the free Skype will apply to 3UK contract customers too.

The free Skype applies both to Skype calls and Skype instant messages, and there are even hints of Skype video calls coming to 3UK at some point.  Kevin Russell, 3UK‘s CEO added “In future you will be able to buy a 3 SIM for unlimited Skype-to-Skype calls for less than the price of a cup of coffee and talk for as much as you want without ever paying us another penny. We won’t ask you for a top-up or a monthly commitment. If you want to talk on a mobile for free, just join us and give it a go. This is for everyone.”

3UK even confirmed how popular Skype has been; “Currently, 3 UK’s growing Skype community enjoys 1.5 million minutes of free Skype-to-Skype calls every day.” and added

3 UK has found that regular Skype users:

  • Are less likely to churn than non-Skype users
  • Use more traditional voice minutes than non-Skype users in addition to calling their Skype contacts
  • Use Skype IM, but also send more SMS than non-Skype users
  • Are more likely to browse the internet on their mobile
  • Are higher margin customers
  • Are twice as likely to access social networking sites as non-Skype customers”

3UK will, from May 1st, offer a 3UK SIM for £1.99 which can then be used in (initially) a 3UK phone for free Skype access.

3UK also announced that there will be a new Skypephone device coming in Q3/Q4 this year, and there was mention of a new PAYG handset supporting Skype available soon for £79.99 too (possibly a new INQ device?).

Finally, whilst speaking Kevin Russell mentioned the “acquisition of Skype“; was that an error on his part, or will we possibly see greater ties between 3 and Skype in the future…?

We weren’t able to attend the press briefing this morning, so thanks to Ant Carroll (who was there) and Gerry at nokiAAdict, and you can get more information direct from 3UK here.


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Skype for iPhone released

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Skype on iPhone

Skype has released their iPhone Skype client, and although it has a few features missing, has been well received.  The main complaint seems to revolve around the inability to make Skype calls via 2G or 3G networks, however, Skype have been keen to point out that it is a license restriction placed upon them by Apple, and hence not within their pwoer to fix.  The other issue is that the client crashes on install or running, although Skype claim this is only happening on jailbroken phones.

Skype on iPhone is available from here in the iTunes Store.

Ignoring the 3G call issue, you can make and receive Skype calls via Wi-Fi hotspots (however, we should point out Skype chats, and setting your Skype status and mood message will work over EDGE / 3G).  Skype have done a lot of good integration work on this client, so it can use the built in Contacts (for SkypeOUT calls), and can use the camera to set your photo.

Of course, with the inability to run apps in the background, as soon as you move away from the Skype client, it shuts down.  Any messages or calls that occur whilst you have the app shut down will be notified to you when you next start it up.  In that respect, running Skype on Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian (via clients like fring), or even the INQ1 and Skypephone all benefit from the ability to leave the app running in the background.

A final point; 3UK have reacted to this release pointing out that Skype has been available on their network (ie via 3G) since 2006, but they also claim that there are “over 1 million minutes of Skype to Skype calls made on 3 every month”. Now, that includes Symbian phones running X-Series (or simply having the current Internet Access) but wow, that’s a lot of Skype support…


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3 launch new tariff

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

3 logo

N95 8GB Mix & Match 300

In an interesting move, 3UK have added a new low cost tariff to their 3Store.  The new tariff, 3 MM100 Plan is part of the Mix’n’Match range, which means it comes with free voicemail, 300 minutes of 3UK3UK calls, “Free” Windows Live Messenger (limits apply), “Free” Skype (limits apply), and 100 minutes or texts (where 1 minute = 1 text).  This tariff is being labelled as a £12 per month contract, but is on special offer at £9 per month from today.

The main downside of this contract is it only offers a small number of phone options (all free); 3 Skypephone, 3Skypephone S2, and the Sony Ericsson K660i (although this is available in an exclusive colour of Lime White as well as the more common Black).

This is a very good headline and attention grabing tariff from 3, but we suspect most people will still head for one of the higher tariffs (which currently offer unlimited 3000 3UK3UK calls, instead of the 300 included in this new tariff).

Oh, and we’re sorry 3UK, but using the phrase “Free” instead of “Unlimited” is better, but still not giving the total picture; with both the “Free” items listed above still having limits.  Go on, give us all a nice xmas present and remove those limits and make 2009 the year that the mobile operators use “unlimited” correctly…

Update: 3 have informed us this is a special offer over the Christmas period, so it may not last into the New Year…


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