Verizon to allow unlimited Skype over 3G

Today, at the Mobile World Congress, Verizon decided to change the game a bit. Beginning next month, users with data plans will have unlimited access to Skype over 3G. This means that people can now call any Skype user directly from their phone without having to pay an extra cent. This would allow you to call your old, yet tech-savvy Aunt Hilda, over in Poland for free. Here's an excerpt from the press release:

"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."

To sign up for more information about using Skype for Mobile, Verizon has set up a special webpage. In the press release, the following phones are mentioned as being able to take advantage of this new Verizon/Skype relationship:

  • BlackBerry Storm 9530
  • BlackBerry Storm2
  • BlackBerry Curve 8330
  • BlackBerry Curve 8530
  • BlackBerry Curve 8830 World Edition
  • BlackBerry Tour 9630
  • Motorola Droid
  • HTC Droid Eris
  • Motorola Devour

Verizon/Skype

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33 Comments

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vaximily - 13 hours ago

Shadrack said,

A few things that spring to mind when reading your comment (this only applies to US):
1. The FCC mandates that so much bandwidth be dedicated to voice only cell phone traffic.
2. The ability of making 911 calls is required for any cell phone.
3. The voice plan is Verizon's bread and butter
4. You can get a data only usb dongle for your laptop and use skype on that.

1. VOIP = Voice-Only Cell Phone Traffic. Skype = VOIP. Surprise it to you, but ALL 4G phone calls will be VOIP, just on a dedicated channel, so your comment is irrelevant on this point.
2. Correct, even cell phones that don't have active service, so data vs voice is irrelevant. Refer to point #1.
3. Says who? There is no REASON to have voice as a requirement, it's just a way for them to pry more money out of their paying customer's hands.
4. The point isn't to have to carry my laptop around, it's to have a portable device with data-only services. As 4G begins to become more widely available, I think you'll see a bit of restructuring in the design of voice / data plans from all of the carriers. Sprint Nextel has already started this revolution by making their top-selling plans all effectively "unlimited everything".

Corrections:
1. VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. This by definition, means use of data bandwidth. The FCC mandates that VOIP be designated a data service, not a voice service. So, in other words, for Verizon to drop the voice service and use a VOIP like skype without using voice services, the FCC must change the rules. However, in the complexity of the US Government, don't count on it.
2. 911 calls are directed through voice networks. Skype will not be able to make 911 calls. So Verizon would still have to provide a network to support an "emergency voice capability." So unless you want our government to become bigger, and like require a fire station or police station every 2 miles, Verizon will have to still provide voice services in some form.
3. The only way to change all this is for enough people to demand change. However, not enough people want the change you propose, or they would be storming FCC headquarters right now.

jwoodfin09 said,
vaximily - 13 hours ago

Shadrack said,

A few things that spring to mind when reading your comment (this only applies to US):
1. The FCC mandates that so much bandwidth be dedicated to voice only cell phone traffic.
2. The ability of making 911 calls is required for any cell phone.
3. The voice plan is Verizon's bread and butter
4. You can get a data only usb dongle for your laptop and use skype on that.

1. VOIP = Voice-Only Cell Phone Traffic. Skype = VOIP. Surprise it to you, but ALL 4G phone calls will be VOIP, just on a dedicated channel, so your comment is irrelevant on this point.
2. Correct, even cell phones that don't have active service, so data vs voice is irrelevant. Refer to point #1.
3. Says who? There is no REASON to have voice as a requirement, it's just a way for them to pry more money out of their paying customer's hands.
4. The point isn't to have to carry my laptop around, it's to have a portable device with data-only services. As 4G begins to become more widely available, I think you'll see a bit of restructuring in the design of voice / data plans from all of the carriers. Sprint Nextel has already started this revolution by making their top-selling plans all effectively "unlimited everything".

Corrections:
1. VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. This by definition, means use of data bandwidth. The FCC mandates that VOIP be designated a data service, not a voice service. So, in other words, for Verizon to drop the voice service and use a VOIP like skype without using voice services, the FCC must change the rules. However, in the complexity of the US Government, don't count on it.
2. 911 calls are directed through voice networks. Skype will not be able to make 911 calls. So Verizon would still have to provide a network to support an "emergency voice capability." So unless you want our government to become bigger, and like require a fire station or police station every 2 miles, Verizon will have to still provide voice services in some form.
3. The only way to change all this is for enough people to demand change. However, not enough people want the change you propose, or they would be storming FCC headquarters right now.

This could go on all day. I know what VOIP stands for, my point was that most voice communication now is VOIP. Don't confuse Skype with VOIP, VOIP goes a lot further than the little amount of service that Skype offers.

Your point about Skype not being able to route to 911 is irrelevant to VOIP. Vonage is VOIP to the core and routes to 911 with no issues, obviously with triangulation and GPS, this is even easier for cell phones.

Where did the fire / police station every 2 miles comment come from? That doesn't even make sense...

I never proposed a change, I was laying out how it is today. Just because something is "VOIP", doesn't make it not-voice. The FCC guidelines do not determine what protocol the voice is transmitted via, only that it is dedicated to voice. Your comments seem to indicate that you think I was saying Skype will replace standard calling which it will not, again, Skype is one of many many many VOIP services, VOIP is not Skype.

Skype Mobile (and similarly Vonage Mobile) are only advantageous if you can't subscribe to one of the various unlimited-voice plans (VZW's own unlimited-voice plan is $70) *and* have a Wi-Fi equipped 3G phone. Going by the remarks here (and at BroadbandReports (http://www.dslreports.com)), the big hype over Skype Mobile is to end-run voice-minute overages (just as the big hype over all other Internet telephony, including not only the original Skype, but even VocalTec InternetPhone, was to end-run per-minute LD overages).

However, for the moment, VZW's custom Skype Mobile will not work over Wi-Fi (even though their 3G/Wi-Fi smartphones, such as the Storm 2 9550, Tour, and Curve 2 all support the app) which limits the usability of said end-run.

I'd have much rather seen VZW offer unlimited-voice options to the FSP (Family Share Plan) customers (who have no real such option now) as that group is doubtless the ones salivating over Skype Mobile.

lol, 10 years from now this will seem very clunky, but for now, I'm glad for with mobile phones, their wifi phones have saved me a ton of money but only worked with wifi.

Darrel said,
I already call over 3G using Google Voice . .

Your statement is wholly inaccurate. All the Google Voice app does is route your calls to a local trunk so that your inbound / outbound number is different than your native cell number. It is NOT VOIP, and you do not "call over it". This is why it still uses "minutes" instead of "kilobytes".

Totally different than Skype, sorry pal.

Uhm... wasn't this already possible? Since Skype is a DATA service, all you'd have to do is download the Skype App from the Android market.

That's assuming there's a Skype App on the market of course...

vaximily said,
Uhm... wasn't this already possible? Since Skype is a DATA service, all you'd have to do is download the Skype App from the Android market.

The App is free, the bandwidth for skype was not ;)

Edited by flexkeyboard, Feb 16 2010, 8:00pm :

vice le von said,
The App is free, the bandwidth for skype was not ;)

Data is data, if I have an unlimited data package, I can use whatever data service I want as much as I want, Skype included.

None of this matters unless they allow you to drop voice, or at least have lower cheaper tiers to choose from.

Nothing is fair about charging $40 for 700 minutes, and $30 for unlimited data, which can be thousands of times more intensive on the network over regular voice.

NeoandGeo said,
None of this matters unless they allow you to drop voice, or at least have lower cheaper tiers to choose from.

Nothing is fair about charging $40 for 700 minutes, and $30 for unlimited data, which can be thousands of times more intensive on the network over regular voice.

+1

NeoandGeo said,
None of this matters unless they allow you to drop voice, or at least have lower cheaper tiers to choose from.

Nothing is fair about charging $40 for 700 minutes, and $30 for unlimited data, which can be thousands of times more intensive on the network over regular voice.

A few things that spring to mind when reading your comment (this only applies to US):
1. The FCC mandates that so much bandwidth be dedicated to voice only cell phone traffic.
2. The ability of making 911 calls is required for any cell phone.
3. The voice plan is Verizon's bread and butter
4. You can get a data only usb dongle for your laptop and use skype on that.

Shadrack said,

A few things that spring to mind when reading your comment (this only applies to US):
1. The FCC mandates that so much bandwidth be dedicated to voice only cell phone traffic.
2. The ability of making 911 calls is required for any cell phone.
3. The voice plan is Verizon's bread and butter
4. You can get a data only usb dongle for your laptop and use skype on that.

1. VOIP = Voice-Only Cell Phone Traffic. Skype = VOIP. Surprise it to you, but ALL 4G phone calls will be VOIP, just on a dedicated channel, so your comment is irrelevant on this point.
2. Correct, even cell phones that don't have active service, so data vs voice is irrelevant. Refer to point #1.
3. Says who? There is no REASON to have voice as a requirement, it's just a way for them to pry more money out of their paying customer's hands.
4. The point isn't to have to carry my laptop around, it's to have a portable device with data-only services. As 4G begins to become more widely available, I think you'll see a bit of restructuring in the design of voice / data plans from all of the carriers. Sprint Nextel has already started this revolution by making their top-selling plans all effectively "unlimited everything".

NeoandGeo said,
Wow, thanks for taking the time to point out the flaws in the VZW employees argument. :p

haha. Im not a vzw employee. in fact im currently using at&t. Im just a guy who likes to argue. The extremist points of view on this board are sad, and there is always an argument to be made against someone elses opinion. Vzw has a long track record of being the most expensive service provider. People continue to bitch about this instead of going to their competition. Maybe thats my point. Im tired of all the bitching thats done here.

is there a difference with call quality over skype? So assuming 2 people have a Droid, they can just call each other via skype and it will not use their minutes?