Skype Is Now Available on Verizon

Skype is now available to Verizon Wireless (s vz) customers who are owners of BlackBerry (s rimm) and Android-based (s goog) smartphones, the New Jersey-based phone company said. The Skype Mobile service now works on nine phones and can be downloaded on these devices starting this morning. Kevin covered the news for us over on jkOnTheRun yesterday. We are going to do a review of the service and let you know how it works.

Verizon is milking this news for all it’s worth, sending out press releases, organizing press conferences and special events. Frankly, the company needs all the help it can get considering that its smartphone portfolio has no hot-selling devices, especially when compared to the iPhone (s aapl). (Related: Skype & Verizon’s Fear of the iPhone.)

As I outlined previously, the current Skype-on-Verizon deal is an exclusive between the two companies, though both of them are dodging answering this question. Skype on the iPhone still doesn’t work over AT&T’s 3G network, despite Ma Bell allowing VoIP calls over it.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

AT&T, Verizon Grudgingly Move Toward Openness

AT&T, Verizon Grudgingly Move Toward Openness

There’s a chance we have just witnessed a crucial — revolutionary, even — week for the U.S. wireless industry as major carriers open up their networks and businesses. Or we may just be seeing the nation’s two top network operators play their cards in a crafty effort to fend of regulators as the FCC increasingly signals its eagerness to intervene in an industry that has become a must-have means of communication for mainstream Americans.

There’s at least some truth in each scenario. Honestly, though, I’m not sure it matters.

Are Carriers Changing Their Tune on Mobile VoIP?

[qi:gigaom_icon_voip] If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you know that wireless phone companies have had little to no time for VoIP-based applications, especially those that cut into their precious voice and SMS revenues. A few years back, T-Mobile decided to play nasty with mobile VoIP startup Truphone in the UK, and since then similar such incidents have taken place as well.
But two recent statements by carriers from different parts of the world are making me wonder if the mobile phone companies are softening their stance on mobile VoIP. Last week, Verizon (s vz) went out of its way to highlight the fact that it had tested VoIP calling on its new 4G wireless network. (The other 4G wireless company, Clearwire (s clwr), has warmed up to VoIP as well.) Read More about Are Carriers Changing Their Tune on Mobile VoIP?

Vonage Will Release Apps For Smartphones

[qi:gigaom_icon_voip] Vonage (s vg), a VoIP services provider, is making its first move to mobile by developing smartphone applications, the New Jersey-based company has confirmed to us. The news was first reported by Gadgetell. Unfortunately, Vonage wouldn’t provide many details on the applications other than to say it’s in talks with “top” smartphone makers, and that the applications will be available in the second half of 2009 and will offer competitive international calling rates. Read More about Vonage Will Release Apps For Smartphones

3 of UK Marries Itself to Skype; Shakes Up the Mobile Market

Ever since Skype’s iPhone client enabled Skype-to-Skype calls (and send IMs) for free over Wi-Fi, I’ve been wondering what the next step towards the mobilization of Skype would be. The answer came today by the way of 3 UK, a 3G wireless operator. The company unveiled a new $3, Skype-enabled SIM card that will allow anyone to make Skype-to-Skype calls and send IMs from any phone on 3’s wireless broadband network. Of course, for the service to work, mobile subscribers would have to buy 3’s data plans, which are often more expensive than those just for voice. Skype accounts for 1.5 million minutes on the 3 network everyday. Read More about 3 of UK Marries Itself to Skype; Shakes Up the Mobile Market

Thanks To Truphone, Mobile VoIP Prices Falling Fast

Truphone, a London-based mobile VoIP startup, tomorrow is expected to introduce a flat-rate plan (TruUnlimited for Landlines) that would allow its customers unlimited calls to landlines in 38 countries for just over $14 a month. In some countries — the U.S., Canada, China and Hong Kong, for example — the plan would also allow unlimited calls to mobile phones as well. Truphone is also offering another plan (TruUnlimited for Mobiles) that would allow unlimited calls to mobiles and landlines in 64 countries for about $35 a month. With Skype for iPhone (and iPod) likely to be introduced later this week, this seems to be a pre-emptive move by Truphone. Read More about Thanks To Truphone, Mobile VoIP Prices Falling Fast

In Europe, VoIP Grows & Grows

Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay, once famously said that voice was going to be free. She was wrong in ponying up billions of dollars for Skype, but she was right in her assertion about voice. Thanks to European broadband service providers treating voice as a loss leader to attract triple-play customers, local voice has become almost free in Europe, according to research conducted by Telegeography, a division of market research firm PriMetrica.

In 2008, VoIP represented 26 percent of total fixed lines in Europe but brought in only 10 percent of the total fixed-line revenues. I bet a big chunk of the VoIP-related revenues are coming from VoIP-to-mobile phone calls. Mobile calls are seriously expensive in Europe, and as a result, any attempts by mobile VoIP companies such as Truphone have been met with resistance by the carriers. Read More about In Europe, VoIP Grows & Grows

Truphone Brings Skype To iPhone & iTouch

im-pageI have been a frequent user of Truphone since it launched its mobile VoIP service over two years ago. What started as a simple VoIP client for Nokia Symbian S60 devices is fast becoming a unified client that does it all. You can make low-cost calls using Wi-Fi networks, utilize the wireless networks for call-back services and send SMS messages on the cheap.[digg=http://digg.com/apple/Truphone_Brings_Skype_To_iPhone_iTouch]

The company is now taking a big step toward becoming an all-encompassing service by announcing support for Skype and other instant messaging. If you have Truphone installed on your iPhone or iTouch you can make (and receive) Skype calls and send instant messages to other Skype users by downloading the updated software on Jan. 12. So far, accessing Skype on an iPhone/iTouch has been hard. (According to our commenters, you can use Fring for iPhone or Nimbuzz iPhone apps to access Skype.) Read More about Truphone Brings Skype To iPhone & iTouch

Another VoIP Startup in Trouble

fringlogoRegardless of however you spin it, if you are firing 20 percent of your work force and have no real business model to speak of, you are in trouble. That certainly is true of Fring, an Israeli Mobile VoIP startup, which has cut 10 of its 50 employees. CEO Avi Shechter told TechCrunch that his company is doing well. In addition to $13 million it raised in the past, Avi says the company has raised an undisclosed amount of money in its Series C financing.
By doing well, I guess he means Fring’s deal with Mobilkom Austria and an increase in the number of monthly downloads from 100,000 a year ago to 400,000. Mobile advertising is one way it hopes to make money, but it seems like a long shot. Like many of its peers, Fring is going to have a tough time in the future. Jangl and TalkPlus have already shut down, while EQO recently fired 65 percent of its workforce. Jaxtr, another VoIP startup, recently had a management shakeup and has its own set of issues. Other Fring competitors would include iSkoot and Nimbuzz.
Related Post: 7 Ways To VoIP From Your Mobile Phone

Finally Truphone for Blackberry Is Ready

Truphone, the service that allows you to make cheap long distance phone calls using VoIP technology on a mobile phone, is now available to users of BlackBerry devices as a beta offering. This product is called Truphone Anywhere for Blackberry.
London-based Truphone’s service, which typically uses Wi-Fi connections for VoIP calls, has so far been available on the Symbian OS-based Nokia devices and Apple’s iPhone. The service doesn’t support Windows Mobile for now.
I downloaded early versions of the software on two WiFi-enabled BlackBerry devices — the 8801 and T-Mobile Curve — and it worked fine on both the devices. It was fairly easy to download the Truphone software using Blackberry’s built-in browser, and I installed it without many problems. Upon installation, it asked me if my device had Wi-Fi or not. (In case of non WiFi-enabled devices, Truphone behaves like any other callback service. )
Read More about Finally Truphone for Blackberry Is Ready