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Verizon Wireless and Skype Team Up - Mobile Version for BlackBerry Coming in March

By Adam Zeis on 16 Feb 2010 12:49 pm EST
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Skype Mobile

Yesterday Kevin posted a video from the Skype booth and couldn't get a definite answer as to when exactly a Skype client for BlackBerry was coming. Well just one day later, Verizon has announced that it has partnered with Skype and will be bringing a client to a number of its smartphones in March. It appears that the app will work on Big Red's 3G smartphones with data plans, and will include the Storm, Storm2, 8330, 8530, 8830 and Tour 9630. Features include:

  • 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.

The service will be available starting next month, and you can be sure Verizon users will be rejoicing. Do you think it will land on other carriers as well? Drop a comment and let us know. For more, check out verizonwireless.com/skypemobile. Full press release after the jump.

BARCELONA, SPAIN; BASKING RIDGE, NJ, UNITED STATES; AND LUXEMBOURG, LUXEMBOURG - At the 2010 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Verizon Wireless and Skype today announced a strategic relationship that will bring Skype to Verizon Wireless smartphones in March. The new Skype mobileTM product enhances Verizon Wireless' smartphones for users who have data plans by offering a new way to call around the globe, while also giving hundreds of millions of Skype users around the world the opportunity to communicate with friends, family and business colleagues in the United States using Verizon Wireless.

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.

Initially, Skype mobile will be available on millions of best-selling Verizon Wireless 3G smartphones with data plans, including the BlackBerry® StormTM 9530, Storm2TM 9550, CurveTM 8330, CurveTM 8530, 8830 World Edition and TourTM 9630 smartphones, as well as DROID by Motorola, DROID ERISTM by HTC and Motorola DEVOURTM.

John Stratton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless, said, "Skype mobile on Verizon Wireless changes the game. For Verizon Wireless' more than 90 million customers, Skype mobile adds great value because we're effectively giving customers with smartphones and data plans the option to extend their unlimited calling community to hundreds of millions of Skype users around the globe. And you're not limited to using a single type of phone; we'll have nine smartphones ready right at launch in March."

Josh Silverman, chief executive officer of Skype, noted, "People want to take their Skype conversations with them wherever they go, whether it's on a PC, TV or increasingly mobile phones. Verizon Wireless will give U.S. consumers the best Skype experience on mobile phones and will truly change the way people call their friends and family internationally."

Customers interested in learning more about Skype mobile for Verizon Wireless smartphones can visit www.verizonwireless.com/skypemobile. Additional information about the service will be available next month.

Visit www.verizonwireless.com for more information about Verizon Wireless or follow the company at http://twitter.com/verizonwireless. Learn more and download Skype at www.skype.com or follow the company at http://twitter.com/skypemobile.

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable and largest wireless voice and 3G data network, serving more than 91 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 83,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NASDAQ and LSE: VOD). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.

About Skype
Skype is software that enables the world's conversations. Millions of individuals and businesses use Skype to make free video and voice calls, send instant messages and share files with other Skype users. Everyday, people everywhere also use Skype to make low-cost calls to landlines and mobiles. Download Skype to your computer or mobile phone at skype.com.

Access to a broadband Internet connection is required. Skype is not a replacement for traditional telephone services and cannot be used for emergency calling.

Skype, associated trademarks and logos and the "S" symbol are trademarks of Skype Limited.
####

Reader comments

Verizon Wireless and Skype Team Up - Mobile Version for BlackBerry Coming in March

55 Comments

Finally. This is going to be great. I hope though it comes to other carriers so I can use it with my friends on them. Good job Verizon. Slowly but surely you are making me more confident in my decision with staying with you.

there is nothing new here at all.. iskoot, IM+ already do this functionality

Read the alleged "featurres"..You cannot make calls except by using your minutes on the cellphone network.. this is as far from skype as you can get...VoIP this is NOT.

Get this out for WiFi and THEN start saying you have something worthwhile..

I agree that at first this looked like great news even though I am on AT&T but if you read between the lines it is probably going to be just like iskoot which I tried. It did not include voip (that is, free skype to skype calls using the internet) but the carrier's voice network which still used my minutes. Does anyone really think Verizon would allow an app to be used that takes away from their voice charges. Of course, with unlimited minutes packages now becoming more affordable, it may be a moot point from a charges perspective. However, it would be nice to make calls just using wifi vs. cell.

Unless you are reading something different than the press releases and announcement pages, i don't see where it says that plan minutes are used. However, i am wondering if this will also work on wi-fi because the press release certainly doesn't rule that out.

As a guide to reading press releases is to understand the difference between implicit and explicit.. Anything explicit is usually true and anything implicit is usually false... :) lol

from above.."make and receive unlimited Skype-to-Skype voice calls to any Skype user around the globe on America's most reliable wireless network"

so that says explicitly says you must be connected to the VZ network...

Given there is no explicit reference to VoIP or to WiFi then it seems this is all window-dressing of iskoot/IM+ applications

...and given the hoopla here.. good for VZ for making headlines with no product.

I'm blown away by this. We've all been screaming for a skype program for Blackberry and it ends up being for verizon? What about AT&T?

You can't tell me that there are more Bb users on cdma than on all the carriers that are gsm (90% of the world).

What gives?

absolutely yes in north America there are more CDMA blackberry users than there are GSM. Yes I dont show any hard proof(no time) but even if you want to compare network to network, not knowing each carriers amount of bb users the number clearly lean toward cdma

In reading through this I notice it doesn't say Skype can be used to call domestic landlines. If not, that is a huge limitation.

Skype Out allows external calling. I'm not sure how well this will be integrated, but my incoming and outgoing numbers will be in my Verizon "circle of trust" :)

It's about time! My entire business phone structure is centered around Skype. Now I get to have a tiny calling plan and save hundreds a year.

I'm not sure if this is a smart move financially for Verizon, but then again, I'm sure there are enough stupid people in the world just buying unlimited plans and using 200 minutes.

See my post above. based on this comment in the description ("most reliable wireless network"), my guess is that this is not voip (using wifi or data network) but actually still using the voice aspect just like iskoot. My guess on the "unlimited" comment is from a skype's perspective- that is, they won't charge for those calls. I hope I am wrong.

* make and receive unlimited Skype-to-Skype voice calls to any Skype user around the globe on America's most reliable wireless network;

If Skype has an exclusivity agreement with Verizon it will be a very smart move! New people jumping ship on other carriers to get a Smartphone with a required data package (and 350 termination fee) and will probably sign up for a plan that qualifies for the 5 or 10 unlimited calls numbers. This will help boost Verizon's number of subscribers and will also help boost Verizon's average revenue per user.

I call bullshit... Why is Skype teaming up with Verizon?? Why not just release the damn thing for Blackberry. This will be a watered down version that will probably use your Verizon minutes. Why else would they be promoting it?? It's directly against Verizon's business model.

I can't believe this is finally coming to reality. It's over a year since Skype promised coming on Blackberry and finally for VZW customers it's almost here. I hope March 2010 doesn't become March 2011 again. VZW thanks for looking out for your customers.

While I am happy for Verizon customers, I am wondering why Skype would attempt to limit this app, which is used by so many people across the world who have never even heard of Verizon.

I'm thinking this clearly isn't going to ONLY be on Verizon because Verizon is ONLY in the US. Vodafone (the world's second largest carrier), who has a 45% ownership of Verizon, may have exclusivity agreement coming too... just a guess. If it turns out that Vodafone does have an agreement coming it will not matter that "so many people across the world have never even heard of Verizon" because all of those people would most certainly know about Vodafone.

Well, my suspicion is that if Skype and Verizon are even going to the trouble of coming up with an exclusive agreement, it means that Blackberry owners on other networks will be left out in the cold at least for a while. It isn't just bad business practice, it is also economically detrimental to Skype. Skype has the good-will of plenty of global customers. My cousins in Germany are on T-Mobile. My family in the UK are on Orange. And I am on Sprint. We all rely on Skype for a cheap means of communicating. I already feel left out, since most of my family have iPhones, and the Skype app for that has been around since-before-Jesus-came.
I didn't know that Vodafone and Verizon were intertwined in that way. It does give them more market share globally, but hardly makes up for the broad swath of people who are not on either network, and who will ostensibly be left out in the cold for some time.

You make some valid points but I just have to believe that whatever deal Skype and Verizon have benefits Skype enough that they will be better off signing an exclusivity agreement rather than having the app open to all carriers that have android and blackberry smartphones. It may be a revenue sharing agreement, or it may simply be a guaranteed revenue agreement - we don't know. But what we do know is that this wasn't just thrown together and Skype chose to agree to the deal because it was the best path forward for them (- and possibly because it was the best option for their users who would use the app as well).

Yeah, pretty cool if you are on verizon, and being able to make skype calls over your data plan is a pretty good start... now enable skype over wifi as well and that would be killer. BUT what I really wanna see is how google voice will respond, especially since they recently bought an open standard voip company (Gizmo5) that provided a similar service to skype... Can you imagine free voip calling over data AND wifi with google voice? Hey, I'm just saying... ;)

Interesting...the press release lists 8330 and 8830 but those devices are both absent from the "compatible Devices" list on Verizon's web site.

If this is just an application, why cant it be taken and used for other carriers? A verizon bb and a sprint bb run the same os. I agree with the above post, there has to be watered down or some how integrated into the verizon to make it an "exclusive" application that will only work on verizon phones.

But if it is "exclusive", just wait a week and someone will have taken it and hacked it in some way to work on other carriers. It only took 1 day after the original iphone launched before it was hacked and running on other networks.

Take that Luke Wilson! lol. What other network would your blackberry be on? T-Mobile? Okay.. maybe. Sprint... eh, don't even get my started on the AT&T Notwork...

Let's face it, every network sucks in one way or another.. I've always been able to get my way more with VZW. They aren't perfect, but they aren't horrible.

Attn: SKYPE When will you have an app with video call option?

It's 2010, weren't there supposed to be flying cars by now?

I stand corrected. According to this article skype to skype is both free from skype and doesn't use cellular minutes. Also, calls outside US has a skype fee only but doesn't use cell minutes. However, skype to regular US numbers will use the cell minutes and of course requires skype out plan. Unfortunately, the skype verizon app does not include wifi. Finally, AT&T will now allow it to run not just on wifi but on cellular but skype hasn't announced that app yet.

Verizon to allow Skype calls over wireless network
by AP:
SAN FRANCISCO – Verizon Wireless will let customers use the Internet phone service Skype to make free calls on some phones, an application that wireless carriers have been slow to allow.

Under a deal announced Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress trade show, users of some Verizon phones who have a voice and data plan will be able to download a free Skype application in late March. That will let them call or instant-message other Skype users for free or call regular phone numbers outside the United States for a fee paid to Skype. These calls would go over Verizon's network and would not use up minutes on a cell phone plan.

Minutes would be deducted, however, to use Skype to call regular phone numbers in the U.S., Verizon said.

Initially, the mobile application will be available for nine Verizon phones, including several BlackBerry models and Motorola Inc.'s Droid and upcoming Devour handsets.

John Stratton, Verizon's chief marketing officer, said the application will be able to run all the time in the background. This means other people should be able to contact you through Skype even if your phone is on standby.

Other wireless carriers have blocked the Skype app from running all the time. It's available on the iPhone only in Wi-Fi hot spots. In October, AT&T said it would relent and let the program work over its cellular network as well, but Skype has not yet released an application to enable that. Verizon's version of Skype mobile will not work over Wi-Fi, the companies said.

I'm wondering if this is a move to get folks to buy into a data plan. Verizon has been pushing it's smartphones pretty hard I'm sure it's the mandated data plan that comes with them that generates a good chunk of cash for them.

On aside I'm wondering how they will track local calls vs long distance calls form skype? I wonder if skype will provide that data to Verizon?

"The Nations Most Reliable 3G" is data coverage. So when you fire up Skype you will be ticking away at the 5GB "unlimited" data cap, NOT your calling minutes.

Let me say that again, IMO this will be using 3G DATA, not calling minutes.

Its the only thing that makes sense right now. Verizon teamed up with Skype on this to sell more smart phones and get those data subscriptions. Everybody knows Skype by now. Smart move. If they were smart, they would leave the WiFi option available and then use the 3G on the go.

-Fin-

-BeeRad
@techjunky79

I totally agree with you, very smart move.

For the wifi option, I understand it as if Verizon wouldn't allow a BlackBerry without a data plan to use Skype so they just block the use of wifi. They just want to increase the revenue per subscriber with selling bigger data plans... ATT and other carriers will have to welcome Skype because Verizon has already done the move!

I don't see why Verizon would block the WiFi option because Verizon doesn't allow a smartphone to operate on their network without having a data package. I think they would love for you to use wifi whenever possible and not use their network... because you'll still be paying for it no matter what.

lol i just read the part about only being able to make calls over the cell plan...lol skype, you are dying, ebay bought you, doesn't want you, and nobody uses you. you have totally failed to make yourself relevant by making useless addons and cool looking logos. you fail.

Taken from Skype's website :

"Coming soon: Skype on America’s most reliable wireless network.

Skype and Verizon Wireless are set to launch a new service, Skype mobile™ that enables customers to use Skype on a variety of best-selling Verizon Wireless BlackBerry® and Android™ 3G Smartphones.

In addition to free Skype-to-Skype global calling and low rates to international landlines and cell phones, Skype will be ‘always on’, meaning customers can receive Skype calls, instant messages and see friends’ presence anytime. And, Skype usage won’t be charged against customers’ monthly Verizon Wireless data plans or minute allowances."

Now they basically say that it will work over... wifi! I think I'll wait for some more news... they don't seem to be set already.

For all those here who think this is true VoIP. Do you really think Verizon is going to give up more than half of their revenue of their wireless business. Look, big V doesn't even allow you to surf the web while you are on a call. Wait up people. All businesses are like that, they are going to milk their customers as much and as long as they can.

I was an early adopter of Skype, but as time has gone on, I've left it behind.
No support for any of the various mobile devices I've used, still no ability to get a skype-in number in Canada, and tons of annoying new pop-up ads in the newer desktop versions.

And of course Vendor specific deals REEK of extra fees.
Oh yeah, and CDMA is dying, and I don't have Verizon.

Who'd have thought that something I likely would have killed for 18 months ago is now barely worth my posting this rant?

I made the move to Google Voice, and I'm not likely to look back.

I would not worry. Verizon is just the first to come to terms with Skye. I just read an article that AT&T had some bandwidth concerns and Skype is working through it. For those who are unfamiliar with press releases, let me interpret. "Good news! Our core bread and butter has been voice plans, but in the new world of SMS and mms, that stream is not reliable any longer. Thanks to Skype, we can hope to force you to use more minutes. Since the unlimited plans are for voice only and does not include text, we bet you won't change."

Haha... For all of those who still stick with BB and verizon, slowly but surely we get rewarded.

It is not a true VoIP. However, international calls over Skype will have free Verizon air time minutes where as domestic calls over Skype still have the air time minutes deducted. This is Verizon move to get the business of those calling cards. Not something out of kind heart.

Skype to Skype = Does Not Use Verizon Minutes
Skype to Domestic Number = Uses Verizon Minutes
Skype to Int'l Number = Does Not Use Verizon Minutes BUT will be charged the Skype Int'l Calling rates.

I don't think Skype to Skype is free. Verizon's data only plan is $40/month. If that's the case, why would I want the voice plan? I read it as US Skype to international Skype is free and you still have to pay for US Skype to US Skype calls.

im wondering if the application is released for a blackberry device im wondering if someone can extract it from a a vzw device and put it into a .jad file and let us install it on our bolds!!!!!!!

I'm almost up for an upgrade with T-Mobile and am looking for a phone that I can use skype on over wifi. Skype for Verizon sounds good but why pay for data and stuff when there are others ways of using skype for free. I'll wait to see how this plays out. I may end up jumping ship and getting the Nokia e 73 this summer that allows skype over wifi. Hmmm.