Verizon allows unlimited Skype calls over its network on select phones

Verizon's Android and  Blackberry customers who use Skype got some huge news today.  Verizon and Skype announced that they are going to let Skype work over 3G in an always-on type of mode, thus allowing their phones to act as Skype devices while attached to Verizon's network.

The service will allow incoming and outgoing Skype calls including Skype phone number access.  The service will always be on and will be active so long as there is a Verizon 3G data connection.  That means you can make inexpensive international calls on Skype rather than Use Verizon's native service.  It also means that incoming calls to your Skype-In voice number will "ring" on your Verizon phones.

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This isn't true voice-over-IP the way most people understand it. The Skype app will connect to Skype's server using a standard Verizon Wireless voice call, and head from there via VOIP to the international or PC phone on the other end. This ensures call quality, John Stratton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless, said.

The two companies have created an exclusive, easy-to-use Skype mobile offering for 3G smartphones. Verizon Wireless 3G smartphone users with data plans can use Skype mobile to:

  • make and receive unlimited Skype-to-Skype voice calls to any Skype user around the globe on America’s most reliable wireless network;
  • call international phone numbers at competitive Skype Out calling rates;
  • send and receive instant messages to other Skype users; and
  • remain always connected with the ability to see friends’ online presence

Verizon phones included in the initial offering are six Blackberries and three Android phones:

  • BlackBerry® Storm™ 9530
  • BlackBerry® Storm2™ 9550
  • BlackBerry® Curve™ 8330
  • BlackBerry® Curve™ 8530
  • BlackBerry® Curve™ World Edition
  • BlackBerry® Tour™ 9630 
  • DROID by Motorola
  • DROID ERIS™ by HTC
  • Motorola DEVOUR™ 

Apple's iPhone users were recently granted the ability to use Skype and other VoIP services over 3G (though Skype has been extremely slow with its release of that feature - perhaps today's news is why).  Skype is also supposed to have a version of its client that operates with Push Notifications - which could almost replicate the "always on - running in the background" functionality that these new Verizon phones will have.

The UK and Ireland's 3 mobile carrier also offers always on Skype over its 3G network as a selling point but Verizon's announcement is the first by a market leader. 

The service will begin in March.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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