Skype move to Verizon expected soon

The VoIP service's push for access to wireless services may be gaining momentum.

2010 is shaping up to be a good year for Skype. A few weeks back, spokesperson Peter Parkes confirmed the company's VoIP iPhone App would soon be able to access AT&T's 3G network. Now it appears Skype could be making its way to Verizon's network.

Verizon issued a statement on Friday announcing a joint news conference with Skype on February 16 at the 2010 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. John Stratton, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Verizon Wireless, and Josh Silverman, chief executive officer of Skype, will both speak.

Word of a joint announcement by the two companies might not be enough to conclude that Verizon will give Skype access to "America's largest 3G network," but Business Week is reporting that is the case. "Two people familiar with the matter," confirmed Verizon plans to include 3G Skype software compete with AT&T, according to the magazine.

Skype started working on a 3G iPhone app after the upgraded SDK for the iPad removed restrictions for calling over 3G. If Verizon has been directly working with Skype, it could mean Verizon smartphones (ahem, Moto Droid) could get a jump on the iPhone version, which is still in development. (A Wi-Fi version is available.)

Skype has been seeking access to wireless networks for the past several years. In 2007 the company petitioned the FCC to open mobile networks to third-party applications. A year later, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said approving Skype's petition would be "premature" since carriers were voluntarily taking steps to open their networks. He then urged other commissioners to dismiss the petition.

If Verizon is allowing Skype to operate over 3G, the development would be a huge milestone for Skype.

Here's the comment from Parkes; watch for PC World's coverage of the Skype-Verizon announcement and more news from the Mobile World Congress.

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Paul Suarez

PC World (US online)
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