Back in Jan. of this year, Apple enabled the ability for application developers to route VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls over 3G connections.  While everyone assumed that Skype would quickly flip the switch on this feature, which some apps did, they took four months to do so.  The addition of the functionality was announced on May30th via the company blog, but there was one caveat to the news that left many people scratching their heads.

skype appOver the coming months we’ll be working out what pricing options might be – and don’t forget that Skype is all about great value. Calling over 3G will be no exception. In the meantime, Skype-to-Skype calls on 3G will be free until the end of 2010, so download and enjoy. Skype-to-Skype calls over WiFi will remain free – and you can make calls to landlines and mobiles around the world at our incredibly low rates.

We put the passage in bold, and … yeah, we don’t get it.

If you’re using 3G, you’re already paying for a data connection, so why wouldn’t Skype-to-Skype calls be covered by this?  Similar deals have been happening all over the world with other cell phones and carriers for several years now, and none of those have required an extra fee last we heard.

Then you take a look at the iPad 3G, AT&T customers are paying $30 a month for unlimited, and get to stream things like Netflix and YouTube videos, but yet somehow Skype calls will use more bandwidth than those services?

At first you’d think this money was going to Skype, but since Wi-Fi calls will remain free, it leads you to believe the money will actually be going to the cellular carrier.  So is this a suspicion by companies such as AT&T that people will start using less and less of their plan minutes because they can now use Skype?

All of this then that raises another question why apps like Fring aren’t charging for access over 3G.  Is it due to their lower popularity than Skype?  Is this because it is Skype taking a fee for some unknown reason?

It feels like there is a lot more to this story, and there is also apart of me believes that we will never know the reasons for this.  Perhaps the fee will be so low that no one will care, but it would still make me wonder why in the world I’m paying another fee on top of the data fee that is already paid each month.

What say you?  Why do you think the Skype app will eventually charge for 3G access?