Aviation News

March 24, 2011

World’s First Skype Phone Booth Opens in Estonian Airport

The world’s first Skype phone booth has been installed at Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport in the capitol of Estonia, allowing traveling Skype users to video chat with other Skypers anywhere in the world free of charge.

Skype phone booth

Skype Station at Tallinn Airport in Estonia (Photo by Estonian Public Broadcasting)

Login is accomplished through a touchscreen which appears just like the home version of the Skype application. The user is automatically signed out of their account when they leave the booth to ensure account security.

While the company is based in Luxembourg, Skype software was originally developed in Estonia. The phone booth is a nod to the nation’s flourishing high-tech sector, conceived by the government’s business development agency, Enterprise Estonia.

Advertising Technology, a firm specializing in touchscreen and LED ad products, constructed the machine under a subcontract from the advertising agency, Brilliant, and plans to begin mass production of the Skype stations within the next six months.

“We see our market primarily at airports, harbours, hotels, shopping centres, hospitals, and on cruise ships,” said Henry Liimal, CEO of AdTech. “We’ve been able to generate interest in the US already, but the bulk of sales pitches are still ahead. To this end, we are further developing the dedicated software and expanding the product range via various designs,” Liimal explained.

Skype’s worldwide success, having attracted over 600 million registered users worldwide, is a source of pride in Estonia, a small northeastern European nation nestled between Russia, Latvia and the Baltic Sea. At the Skype Station’s unveiling, Maria Alajõe, a Member of the Management Board of Enterprise Estonia, called Skype “Estonia’s Nokia,” a reference to the massive cellphone manufacturer based in nearby Finland.