An agreement announced today today will bring Skype’s VoIP service to Verizon Wireless smartphones starting in March. This will allow users to make free phone calls with their unlimited data plans, rather than voice minutes.
The Skype app — which will initially be available for phones based on the Android OS and BlackBerry OS — will let users make free calls to other Skype users around the world. Users will also be able to call landlines, but will be charged for this service.
This app will also allow users to exchange instant messages with other Skype users. However, there is no support for making video calls.
Initially, Verizon’s version of Skype mobile will be available for smartphones with 3G and unlimited data plans, including the BlackBerry Storm 9530, Storm2 9550, Curve 8330, Curve 8530, 8830 World Edition, and Tour 9630 , as well as the Motorola Droid, HTC Droid Eris, and Motorola Devour.
Verizon’s version for BlackBerry OS will be the first to allow users to make calls over a data connection. The current one for RIM’s smartphones uses voice minutes to make Skype-to-Skype calls.
Customers of Verizon will be the first to get the Android OS version of this app.
Windows Mobile users who want this service don’t have to wait until March, as it’s available now on the Skype website.
Skype is a free service that makes money by charging users to make landline and international phone calls.
However, Verizon is going to require anyone who installs it to have an “all you can eat” data plan, which costs $30 per month.