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Skype Eyes Mobile Workers

he voice-over-IP company's latest deal continues its expansion beyond consumers; with the new setup, users can initiate free VoIP phone calls on their PDAs or laptops.

Skype Technologies SA, having established itself in the consumer market for PC-to-PC phone calls over the Internet, is now positioning itself to become the voice-over-IP vendor for mobile workers.

Skype last week struck a deal to include its VoIP software in GoRemote Internet Communications Inc.'s Mobile Client offering, following partnerships this year with Boingo Wireless and Fiberlink Communications Corp.

GoRemote Mobile Office is designed to provide workers with wired and wireless connectivity options from one interface. Under the new deal, users can initiate free VoIP phone calls on their PDAs or laptops. "A group of salespeople could talk while they're entering orders and doing business from a remote location," says GoRemote president and CEO Tom Thimot.

Skype closed a similar deal in May with Fiberlink, a GoRemote competitor. "Skype is becoming the go-to provider of voice services for the [network] aggregators, and this will help its positioning in the business market," says Current Analysis analyst Kathryn Weldon.

And through a deal with Boingo, more than 45 million Skype customers can make Internet phone calls using Boingo's Wi-Fi hot-spots.

With eBay Inc.'s planned acquisition of Skype, VoIP will move to online auctioneers. EBay sees VoIP becoming part of the E-commerce experience.

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