Mobivox launched the beta of its new mobile-to-Skype service yesterday. Registered Mobivox users with Skype accounts can call local access numbers to be connected via a virtual operator to their Skype contacts, for free. The service works with landlines and mobile phones, and it requires no download to your phone or PC.
To use the service, just give Mobivox your telephone numbers and Skype account info. The service will sync your Skype contacts and make them available to call using the remote voice access system. Just call the number, and you'll get a virtual operator who takes voice commands or key entries to connect you to your contacts. You can also query the service to see which of your buddies are online. The potential for road warriors is great. There's nearly unlimited space for voice dial contacts, which is a plus for people without a good voice-dialing system on their phones.
Mobivox's business model feeds off revenue from international calls. Users buy into a credit system that lets them purchase chunks of up to $100 international mobile-to-landline credit at a time, without having to buy it from Skype directly. There are no charges for using the service beyond any minutes you use up on your mobile or domestic-calling plan, and since Mobivox gives you a local number, you're likely to avoid any long-distance charges on landlines.
This is a really solid service and very simple to use. The only hang-ups I found were with the voice recognition, which had some trouble with hard-to-pronounce Skype names. Like Google and Tellme's free 411 services, this brings to the table a really simple idea of connecting your phone to Web-based services for free. Since I'm not a big Skype user, I likely won't be using this, but for Skype fans, it's far better than buying a Wi-Fi-enabled Skype handset or digging up contact info while on the go.