Skype and Verizon Join Forces to Bring Skype to Verizon Smartphones
At first you might not think so, but this recent announcement at the Mobile World Congress is BIG news. Today, Skype and Verizon announced a new partnership and smartphone app that will allow Verizon users to chat– both through Skype IM AND through calling– to Skype users around the world. The free app, which will come in late March, will be available on the BlackBerry (models Curve 8830, Storm 1 and 2, Tour, Curve 8330 and Curve 8530), as well as the Android-running Motorola Droid, HTC Droid Eris, and the upcoming Motorola Devour (a phone we’ll have more on soon–think of as less powerful Droid with full keyboard and MOTOBLUR).
The name of the app is Skype Mobile and is an “always-on app,” meaning that it will constantly running in the background. Now here’s the big part of this partnership– the calls made on Skype Mobile are made over Verizon 3G data network and will NOT use your minutes. This is huge in multiple ways– 1) for those close to running over minutes and have one of these phones, you can use this to help keep you from running over. 2) Not only do Verizon users have unlimited calling to the 90 million customers on their carrier, but now they now can also call the 500+ million Skype users, even if those users are online internationally!
Now you will need a data plan to use Skype Mobile (though since the application is only for smartphones, and that Verizon requires data plans for all the phones mentioned above, we don’t see this as much of a problem), and yes, AT&T has recently approved a Skype iPhone app that also allows calls over 3G and not just WiFi (which by the way, this app won’t be able to do)– but this is still definitely a big win for Verizon users if for no other reason than that Verizon is finally opening up their network for Skype and hopefully other services in the very near future.