Nokia, which has some 37% of the global handset market, said the download is free and available from its Ovi online store. Skype users can call each other free of charge and can call non-Skype users for a low rate, generally about 2.5 cents a minute.
The development follows an announcement last month from Verizon Wireless that it, too, would offer Skype VoIP service to users of several Verizon smartphones. Until recently, most wireless carriers fought the use of Skype and other VoIP services, but as revenue for data and other carrier services has risen, the carriers have begun to climb on board the VoIP bandwagon.
The Nokia-Symbian arrangement, moreover, dramatically raises the bar for VoIP calling because nearly 50% of the world's mobile phones use the Symbian OS. Not all Symbian phones will initially be able to use Skype, but Nokia indicated some 200 million handsets will be able to use the service from the get-go.
For Nokia, the availability of Skype on its Ovi applications site is expected to boost traffic to the store. "We're seeing around 1.5 million downloads a day through Ovi store now and believe that the Skype client for Nokia smartphones increases the amount of downloads further," said Jo Harlow, Nokia senior VP for smartphones, in a statement.
Nokia indicated that Skype will also soon be available on Sony-Ericsson handsets using Symbian.
Nokia has been installing Skype apps on its phones gradually, ever since it announced a year ago that the VoIP service would be available for its N97 flagship phone's address book.
The latest Skype for Symbian application is compatible with the following Nokia models: Nokia E71, Nokia N96, Nokia N85, Nokia 5320, Nokia 6210 Navigator, Nokia 6220 classic, Nokia N78, Nokia N79, Nokia E63, Nokia E66, Nokia N82, Nokia E51, Nokia N95, Nokia N95 8Gb, Nokia N81, Nokia N81 8 Gb, Nokia E90, Nokia E72, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia N97, Nokia N97 mini, Nokia X6, and Nokia 5530.