Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) company Skype has entered into a partnership with Verizon Wireless, opening the door for millions of Verizon subscribers to begin using the application.
Smartphone owners that also have a data plan will be able to use the Skype VoIP program on Verizon’s wireless 3G wireless data network. Specifically, Skype Mobile will be available to RIM BlackBerry Storm, Storm 2, Curve 8330, Curve 8530, Curve 8830 World Edition and the company’s Tour 9630 smartphones. Skype Mobile will also be supported on the popular Motorola Droid, the Devour and HTC Droid Eris phones.
Additional smartphones will likely be supported after release, but nothing more has been announced.
Using Verizon’s EVDO network, the mobile version will support international Skype-to-Skype calls, Skype Out calling, “always on” features and instant messaging.
Skype’s iPhone version has been popular with users, but it doesn’t operate on the AT&T network. AT&T continues to struggle with network issues, as it reportedly does not have the capacity to handle the sheer number of smartphone users on its network. iPhone owners on AT&T have traditionally been forced to use Skype via Wi-Fi only, but that should change soon as Apple has finally updated the iPhone SDK to support VoIP applications.
“It’s about moving the Skype experience beyond PCs, to TVs, mobile devices and more,” said Russ Shaw, Skype Mobile head. “People don’t always want to be tethered to their computer. It’s all about ubiquity.”
The popular service currently has 521 million users worldwide, with a total of 12% of all international calling done by Skype users.
Update: The Skype mobile service will actually use the Verizon Wireless voice network to connect calls to Skype’s VoIP servers. “This isn’t true voice-over-IP the way most people understand it. The Skype app will connect to Skype’s server using a standard Verizon Wireless voice call, and head from there via VOIP to the international or PC phone on the other end. This ensures call quality”, Stratton said. via PCMag.