How Big a Deal is Skype on Verizon?

By  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I’m not sure if this is just an intriguing partnership or a major moment in phone history. But at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Verizon Wireless and Skype announced that they’re working together to bring Skype to nine BlackBerry and Android phones on the Verizon network. A version of Skype Mobile will be available next month, permitting free Skype-to-Skype calls, chatting, and Skype Out calls to any phone number, including cheap international rates. And it’ll all be done using flat-rate data plans rather than phone minutes.

There’s nothing inherently historic about Skype being available on phones–it’s on the iPhone (albeit over Wi-Fi only right now) and I first used the service on a Windows Mobile handset years ago. (Only briefly, though–it taxed the phone to the breaking point, and voice quality was pretty miserable.)

But a major carrier such as Verizon not only grudgingly permitting Skype but buddying up with it as a selling point for its phones is an interesting twist. I look forward to trying Skype Mobile on my Droid when it’s available. And I have a few questions in the meantime…

Is there any integration with the phones’ standard phone features? Say, access to the phone address book from within Skype? Or–dare I wish for it–the ability to route all calls through Skype, as Google’s Google Voice app permits on BlackBerry and Android handsets? (Yes, I know that Google Voice isn’t comparable to Skype–it uses phone minutes, and Skype doesn’t)

How well does it work for incoming calls? Skype Mobile can run in the background, and I presume that you can use a Skypein phone number to permit people to dial a standard phone number and reach you in Skype. But does all this work smoothly enough that you could comfortably use Skype to take calls rather than the phone’s standard phone features?

How’s the quality? As good as a standard cell call? Better?

Are there any gotchas? On paper, this whole deal sounds…suspiciously enticing. The better Skype Mobile works, the more likely it is that lots of Verizon customers will do most (or all?) of their calling using it. Even if Skype cut Verizon in on any revenue it made, that couldn’t be good for Verizon’s bottom line.

More thoughts once the app’s available.

 
6 Comments


Read more: , , ,

4 Comments For This Post

  1. Mike Cerm Says:

    There is basically no integration with Skype and the native functions of the phones, on any platform. Incoming calls are handled about as well as can be expected, given the multitasking capability of whichever platform you’re using. None of this is ideal but it’s certainly better than paying for cell minutes for some people.

    As for quality, if you’re using a wired-headset and microphone, the quality is light-years ahead of a normal cell call. Generally, the built-in earpieces of most phones won’t let you appreciate the superior quality.

  2. Brian S Says:

    Not that I’ve tried it, but…

    At least on Android, it seems like it would be trivial to let Skype be an option for outgoing calls, using SkypeOut. In that sense, it would accomplish the same thing as Google Voice for outgoing calls (lower rates for international calls, and/or skipping around phone minute limitations). It wouldn’t be as tight an integration as with GV, but it would be something.

  3. dave Says:

    Agree with Brian S on this.

  4. Russell Says:

    Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after reading through some of the post I
    realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely happy
    I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back
    frequently!

2 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Skype on Verizon: Coming This Thursday Says:

    [...] all: News Last month, Verizon and Verizon Wireless announced that they were working together to bring a mobile version of Skype to users of BlackBerry and Android handsets on the Verizon network. Today at the CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas, they’re divulging the details, including the [...]

  2. Skype on Verizon: Coming This Thursday | 567 Technology Says:

    [...] month, Verizon and Verizon Wireless announced that they were working together to bring a mobile version of Skype to users of BlackBerry and Android handsets on the Verizon network. Today at the CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas, they’re divulging the details, including the [...]