Verizon, Skype will launch Skype Mobile in March

Verizon, Skype will launch Skype Mobile in March

Summary: At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday, Skype and Verizon Wireless jointly announced the launch of Skype Mobile, a free app that will run on select Verizon smartphones.

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At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday, Skype and Verizon Wireless jointly announced the launch of Skype Mobile, a free app that will run on select Verizon smartphones.

The application was co-developed by the Skype and Verizon teams and will launch in "late March" on nine different devices, including (Verizon statement, Skype blog):

  • BlackBerry Curve
  • BlackBerry 8830 World Edition
  • BlackBerry Storm 1
  • BlackBerry Storm 2
  • Motorola Droid
  • HTC Eris
  • Motorola Devour

The application will be a free download. It will run in the background on all of those phones, and Skype stated that they've worked very closely with Verizon to maximize battery life and call quality. All of the Skype calls will go through the data plan and will not count as cellular minutes.

Skype and Verizon also alluded to the fact that there would be some address book integration that will show the Skype presence of your contacts. That hints at deeper integration beyond just the development of a stand-alone app. The software itself was not demonstrated at the press conference.

A few additional statistics that came out in the event:

  • Verizon has 90 million U.S. wireless customers
  • Skype has 500 million users
  • Skype is adding 300K new users per day
  • Verizon stated that Skype calls will not negatively impact their 3G data network. John Stratton, Verizon chief marketing officer, said, "We won't let network quality erode. That's the cornerstone of our brand."

Analysis

This is a strong deal for Skype. They get the best U.S. 3G network and an early jump on access to Verizon's forthcoming 4G network. However, they had to sell a bit of their soul to do it. This app will be exclusive to Verizon and it sounds like Skype won't be making deals with any other carriers for a while. That flies in the face of the Skype everywhere strategy (they even talked about integrating Skype into TVs at CES).

The big question is how exclusive is this exclusive deal? Can Skype continue to develop Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone apps? I suspect they can. However, I doubt they'll be able to work with other carriers on Skype integration, at least for the U.S. networks.

Topics: Mobility, Collaboration, Hardware, Networking, Smartphones, Verizon, Wi-Fi, Social Enterprise

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Talkback

9 comments
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  • Given that I can already make Skype Mobile video calls using fring

    I'd say there isn't any exclusivity.

    I have a Nokia N95 which works great for Skype Video calls using Fring.
    D.T.Schmitz
  • RE: Verizon, Skype will launch Skype Mobile in late March

    Been using Skype on my Q9c for a couple of years now. <yawn>.
    Monty Palmer
  • I'm not into using Skype anymore.

    In my experience, even if my privacy settings are set so high, I do get sex chats about two years ago, which I completely ignored them. But even if I do ignore them, I do get frustrated so I uninstalled Skype and no longer use it. I use it to make phone calls to my parent for cheap with Skype-to-USB adapter only.
    Grayson Peddie
  • Skype did this with the mobile carrier '3'

    I remember the adverts all over the area about two years ago. Then, suddenly they were pushing MSN intead.

    How is this a new thing?
    mattohare@...
  • We have got Skype on our 3 phones in the UK

    The network 3 is having Skype in Italy, Norway , Denmark
    , Austria, Australia, UK and some others. It goes through
    a gateway connection and it uses a JAVA application. It
    is free to use, unlimitedly. go to www.three.co.uk and
    see it yourself.
    bennystan@...
    • It doesn't use data or calls

      It doesn't use data or calls - it is just free to
      use.
      bennystan@...
  • Data Plans will be costly

    I am sure that the data plan will be costly. As both the companies will be sharing the profit.

    Currently skype calling is as low as 25 cents but if verizon comes into picture, then they are bound to increase the price as it will be over 3G network of Verizon.

    Hopefully they will plan their strategy perfectly.
    Hardik Upadhyay
  • RE: Verizon, Skype will launch Skype Mobile in late March

    If this is an app that can be just downloaded, then it should work for example on a Sprint BB Curve, right?
    I mean how exclusive can it be?
    mdvan
  • RE: Verizon, Skype will launch Skype Mobile in late March

    The new Sling Media is a great device. This gives you the option to be able to watch TV from anywhere that you can get a WI-FI signal. I like to take my tablet or my Smartphone to the park and watch TV while the kids play. Contact DISH Network where I work for more info.
    Joe1DISH