Verizon Skype app does not use 3G data or WI-FI for voice calls

by Justin Horn on Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 2:25 pm

Skype announced today that you can now use the Verizon Skype app on your Andriod phone without disabling WI-FI. AndroidCentral jumped on the news assuming that you could now make calls using WI-FI. They later updated this, stating that you could now leave WI-FI enabled while using Skype, but not actually place calls via WI-FI.

It was obvious to me that there is no way they would allow WI-FI calling. Remember, Skype doesn’t just have an app out on the Andriod market like it is on Apple’s app store. The app is only available to Andriod phones (and BlackBerry) that are on the Verizon network. This is all part of a very shady deal between Skype and Verizon, which I  highlighted back in March. It’s basically an exclusivity deal that would tempt Skype users to pick Verizon over a different carrier. Even better for Verizon, your Skype calls to domestic phones use up your regular Verizon voice plan minutes. Skype to Skype calls are free and international calls are billed by Skype, but I still beleive they connect through Verizon’s regular voice network. I’m really not sure what’s in it for Skype.

What AndriodCenteral and others missed, is the fact that Skype calls don’t even use your 3G data connection. Brian Klug brought this to my attention in a tweet about a month ago:

@justin_horn @gruber even worse, the skype app on android doesn’t even do real VoIP – it places calls. Doesn’t use data.

This explains why Skype-to-phone calls come out of your Verizon minutes, but then what’s the point of using Skype at all? Your Skype address book?

I confrimed Brian’s hunch today with Skype’s main PR guy, Peter Parkes, on Twitter:

Me: @PeteratSkype Does Skype Verizon on Andriod work on 3G data, or just call into VZ mothership via normal CDMA phone connection and then out? (Original Tweet)

Peter: @justin_horn it uses the data connection for IM, contact list, etc and the voice network for calls – hope that helps (Original Tweet)

So if Skype were to allow WI-FI calling with this update, they would obviously be in breach of their contract with Verizon.

Compare this to un-open iOS Skype app which allows you to make calls on 3G and WI-FI. These calls are placed just like they would be from a laptop with a 3G card or WI-FI connection. All usage is billed to your Skype account alone. You can even make WI-FI calls from the iPod touch.

(via Daring Fireball)

Follow me on Twitter @justin_horn

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Andriod, Skype, Verizon


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