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02/12/2010

Will Skype Soon Be On Verizon Wireless?

Verizon Wireless was for a long time the most conservative U.S. carrier. It did everything it could to keep even mildly disruptive applications and services off of its network and handsets. In the last year, though, it has claimed to be changing, saying it planned to make its network as open as possible. In October it said it would introduce two handsets running the Google-developed Android operating system, and with Google Voice installed. It subsequently announced a deal with Google to jointly develop and sell products, including such Android-based devices. Now it appears set to announce a deal with Skype.

The two companies will hold a joint press announcement at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday February 16. The announcement will likely involve a deal to run Skype on Verizon mobile equipment and network. While such a deal would represent a significant advance for mobile VoIP, its impact will depend on the details. The main question will be which of two possible approaches to mobile Skype the expected deal involves.

The less radical approach would be to have users' Skype calls travel over the Verizon cellular voice network to a Skype gateway. From there they would travel over the Internet to another Skype user or to a conventional phone. This approach would be not much different from the services Skype Lite and iSkoot provide smart phone users of all types, and what Skype is offering with the Skype for iPhone app. Such an arrangement would still allow Verizon Wireless to charge for cellular voice minutes.

The more radical approach would have Skype calls traveling over the Verizon 3G cellular data network. That would allow Verizon to receive revenue only for transporting the IP data carrying the calls, not for the calls themselves. It would represent a major departure from the traditional cellular business model, and would mean Verizon Wireless was potentially sacrificing substantial voice revenues for relatively insubstantial data revenues.

But that won't necessarily happen right away. Like AT&T's, Verizon Wireless's data plans don't feature particularly VoIP-friendly pricing. Until they do, using Skype or any other VoIP service over the Verizon Wireless 3G network could be more expensive than traditional voice calling.

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Reports

  • Choosing the (Near-) Perfect Cloud Video Conferencing Solution
         This 7-page buyer's guide gives SMBs the information they need to choose the cloud-based video conferencing service that fits their needs. As a for-purchase download priced at $9.99, this document avoids the conflicts of interest of papers and guides that are offered for free, or sponsored by, vendors and service providers. Instead, it provides the kind of objective and authoritative information that would otherwise require assigning a staffer to spend days or weeks searching out and evaluating.

  • SMB Video Conferencing: Getting Beyond Clouds & Interoperability
         This 31-page VoIP Evolution report provides an in-depth analysis of a market that has suddenly become very competitive. It identifies and dispels some of the misconceptions that have become part of the conventional wisdom surrounding SMB video conferencing. Chief among these are unrealistic expectations regarding the cloud approach and interoperability.
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  • Voice Over LTE: More Pitfalls Than Promise for Now
        This 18-page Heavy Reading Insider report, written by Robert Poe, analyzes the prospects for delivery of voice calls over cellular networks using LTE (long-term evolution) 4G wireless technology. Operators are originally looking to use LTE mainly for mobile data services, since a number of technical issues make delivering voice traffic over LTE complicated. The report describes the various options available to operators, and explains why they are likely to move to voice over LTE later rather than sooner. Information about the report is available at Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider.

  • Making HD Voice Happen: Choosing Codecs, Connecting Islands
        This Heavy Reading Insider report by Robert Poe evaluates the impact HD voice will have on voice services providers ranging from traditional telcos to cable MSOs to cellular carriers to VoIP operators. The 20-page report also analyzes the role vendors' and providers' choices of codecs will play in ensuring that HD voice services can be delivered end-to-end, rather than only within individual providers' or enterprises' networks. It also surveys the HD voice efforts of 14 vendors.
        Information about the report is available at Heavy Reading Insider. A column about the report is available at Light Reading.

  • Disruptive VoIP Services: What Carriers Need to Know
        A report by Robert Poe for Heavy Reading, analyzing the innovative VoIP services with the most potential to disrupt the telecom services market over the next three to five years.
        The 57-page report describes the changes VoIP innovation brings to telephony models, practices and concepts. It identifies 17 categories of potentially disruptive VoIP services, and analyzes their potential impact on the market. It also profiles 50 potentially disruptive companies and services.
        Information about the report is available on the Heavy Reading Website. Coverage of the report is available on the Light Reading Website.


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