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Verizon Teases Android Skype Users with Wi-Fi

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 24 comments

Android users on Verizon Wireless can now use Skype with Wi-Fi activated, however, the killer app is in the 3G.

Wednesday night Skype updated its Android-based client to include support for Wi-Fi connections. Previously the service was available only for Verizon's 3G network, and would not load until the user shut off their Wi-Fi connection. Many users--including myself--protested against the lack of Wi-Fi support.

The reason behind the move was somewhat obvious however: it prevented users from purchasing an unactivated (contract-less) Verizon Android phone and using it as a Wi-Fi based, VoIP device. Instead, consumers wanting to use Skype would need to sign up with Verizon to use Skype's VoIP function.

But now it seems that Skype and Verizon has answered the call. Wednesday night the app description originally read as "Simultaneous Wi-Fi & 3G," revealing that Verizon Android owners could now boot up the VoIP/IM client while still accessing the local Wi-Fi. That is indeed the case, and the OS will show both the Wi-Fi and 3G icons in use after the app loads.

However the app description was later changed to read "Wi-Fi runs while app is on 3G." Users still need the 3G connection to make and receive VoIP calls--it's unknown if Skype requires the 3G connection for instant messaging. Further tests with unactivated Android-based Verizon phones showed that Skype VoIP calling would not work without a data plan.

So what was the point of adding Wi-Fi support? Good question. Users are no longer forced to shut off Wi-Fi connections in order to use the app. But then again, with both connections active, what are consumers using when downloading from the Market, streaming music, or simply surfing the web? Looks as though it may be Wi-Fi--a recent broadband outage (thanks Earl) showed Skype for Android unable to connect until the phone was switched over to 3G.

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  • 4 Hide
    coleipoo , September 2, 2010 8:51 PM
    That's like introducing a bicycle to a man with no legs.

    "Here's this bike, but you can't use it if you have no legs, sorry".
  • 1 Hide
    TunaSoda , September 2, 2010 8:51 PM
    Welcome to Verizon...
  • 1 Hide
    mikecs , September 2, 2010 8:54 PM
    and thats why I use Nimbuzz...
  • 1 Hide
    jeverson , September 2, 2010 8:54 PM
    Epic Fail!
  • -4 Hide
    borisof007 , September 2, 2010 8:59 PM
    This seems a little goofy, but I understand why from Verizon's standpoint. They have to protect their interests.
  • 0 Hide
    mavroxur , September 2, 2010 9:01 PM
    I like the way when you mouse over the advertising link "3G" in the first paragraph, it hijacks and takes you away from Tom's Guide completely..... >_< And, epic fail on the Wi-Fi / 3G. Absolutely pointless...
  • 1 Hide
    bv90andy , September 2, 2010 9:16 PM
    this is un-news. It's not helping anyone and it only lets more people know what thiefs Verizon really are. I don't know how much Verizon is paying Skyoe but I think it's alot.
  • 1 Hide
    dan117 , September 2, 2010 10:42 PM
    I can't find skype in the market...
    It's because I live in Romania, right?

    Anyway, I want skype for the text conference, I don't care about VoIP right now.
  • 2 Hide
    eddieroolz , September 2, 2010 10:42 PM
    This is silly. We're giving carriers too much control..
  • 0 Hide
    billj214 , September 2, 2010 11:24 PM
    I wanted Skype to work with WIFI while I was in Ireland so I could make calls home using the internet! You have any idea how expensive it is to call from a hotel? (I assume this would have worked?)

    The biggest advantage to anyone buying Android VS Iphone is less control from big brother and open source apps so we can essentially do what we want!
  • -3 Hide
    chonte84 , September 3, 2010 1:05 AM
    Well, i'll say it, iPhone DOES have skype over 3g hahahahaha
  • 1 Hide
    BPT747 , September 3, 2010 2:50 AM
    The Verizon guy told me "and the phone has Skype"
    Me: "really so I can make a call where I have internet and no service"
    VZW: "no it has to use our network"
    Me: "So why does it have Skype, the whole point behind Skype is to make phone calls without your network"
    VZW: "you can call other countries without high rates"
    Me: "Wow that is useful" - extreme sarcasm

    He also told me I could Tether instead of paying for the wireless access point, when I tried to tether they wanted to charge me monthly and put a ridiculously small cap on the data with extortion level penalties for data overage even though my phone has unlimited data. If anyone had service even remotely like theirs I would switch so fast their head would spin. I have friends with the other 2 big companies I regularly get asked "can I borrow your phone".
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 3, 2010 4:14 AM
    The author should at least research the true reasoning behind this before jumping to conclusions. Skype and Verizon reached a deal where Skype calls are set up through the 3G network, transmitted through verizon's normal voice thing (which they don't bill you for), and then sent to the other person. Skype mobile is NOT a VOIP service and uses the regular verizon network, therefore, calls over wifi will not work. Simple as that.
  • 1 Hide
    misiu_mp , September 3, 2010 8:49 AM
    borisof007This seems a little goofy, but I understand why from Verizon's standpoint. They have to protect their interests.


    They could also hire some sharks to "convince" the customers to their services. That's "protecting interests" too you know...
    No, this is not protecting interests. This is market position abuse.
  • 0 Hide
    Travis Beane , September 3, 2010 1:46 PM
    Got to love it... A Windows based PC isn't exactly the most open platform, but at least we can use it the way we want to...
    You could always buy a Sony PSPgo and use it for Wi-Fi skype. :) 
    I tried that, I have to go several blocks to find a unprotected network. Oddly enough, almost everyone here in Western Canada protects their wireless now, while almost no one did only a few years back.
  • 0 Hide
    jabliese , September 3, 2010 2:44 PM
    borisof007This seems a little goofy, but I understand why from Verizon's standpoint. They have to protect their interests.


    Protecting the customer's interests is the best way to protect the company's interests.
  • 0 Hide
    Camikazi , September 3, 2010 8:14 PM
    Travis BeaneGot to love it... A Windows based PC isn't exactly the most open platform, but at least we can use it the way we want to...You could always buy a Sony PSPgo and use it for Wi-Fi skype. I tried that, I have to go several blocks to find a unprotected network. Oddly enough, almost everyone here in Western Canada protects their wireless now, while almost no one did only a few years back.

    Could just be the router came with protection on. I'm noticing most company provided router/modem combo boxes are now coming with protection on by default.
  • 0 Hide
    otacon72 , September 3, 2010 11:31 PM
    misiu_mpThey could also hire some sharks to "convince" the customers to their services. That's "protecting interests" too you know...No, this is not protecting interests. This is market position abuse.


    Then don't use Verizon...so sick of listening to people whine.
  • 0 Hide
    jackleung , September 4, 2010 6:38 AM
    chonte84Well, i'll say it, iPhone DOES have skype over 3g hahahahaha
    So what? WM can do it for ages!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 4, 2010 10:16 PM
    none of this helps, since worldwide android owners cannot use skype over wifi, probably because skype lack the technical expertise to develop a properly-working android skype application
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