#MWC10: Verizon and Skype to Announce Partnership
Is the future of cell phone calls based on VoIP? It may well be, if Skype has anything to do about it. One of the big announcements that’s expected at MWC 2010 is a joint venture between Verizon Wireless and Skype on February 16.
Just for the fact that Skype is involved in the press conference, you know it has something to do with enabling its VoIP service on Verizon phones. According to BusinessWeek’s sources, Verizon will begin allowing Skype calls to be made over its 3G data network.
Trends indicate that cell phone minute demand is slowing while the focus is shifting towards data. Thus it makes a lot of sense for Verizon to want to be the trendsetter in this sense, especially considering the amount of competition it has with rival AT&T.
AT&T already uses Skype on some of its phones, notably the iPhone, but only through WiFi. The two companies are working on a solution that will work over its 3G network, so Verizon is on a time crunch to get the service working on its phones before AT&T does.
No matter what, the biggest winner in all this is Skype. Landing a deal with Verizon is absolutely huge. The company already has 520 million subscribers, but this adds at least another 90 million potential customers in addition to new subscribers who want to connect to Verizon phones without additional cost.
There aren’t any details on if the service will available on all 3G phones or on select devices; we assume it will just be available on a couple smartphones (DROID, perhaps?) to begin with, and expand after a trial period.