Skype: Where are all the WiMAX devices?

For Gareth O'Loughlin, Skype's general manager of mobile and hardware devices, this year's Mobile World Congress show has looked to meet the challenge of bringing the Internet experience to the mobile handset. While this tired premise has garnered little fanfare, the solutions for porting the Internet experience to the mobile phone have not yet fully coalesced. The prevailing mindset of most carriers, however, has shifted in favor of a more open wireless network that discriminates less when it comes to handsets and applications. That said, O'Loughlin lamented the lack of WiMAX devices at the show.

Late last year Skype launched a Skypephone with Hutchison Whampoa's 3G carrier 3, which led to similar launches across Hutchison's carriers worldwide. "What we have shown with 3 is that Skype can partner effectively with an operator," O'Loughlin said. There is no need to maintain the mindset that Skype is a threat to mobile carriers, he added.

O'Loughlin said he is "very optimistic" about the promises of open access that major carriers in the U.S. have pledged in recent months, but he noted that no two carriers are the same. -Brian

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