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Cellphones

Verizon To Allow Skype Calling On Its Network 98

Posted by kdawson
from the free-as-in-pay-for-a-data-plan dept.
The Verizon press release begins: "At the 2010 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Verizon Wireless and Skype today announced a strategic relationship that will bring Skype to Verizon Wireless smartphones in March." What used to be one of the most protective carriers anywhere has been opening up in major ways since the introduction of the Motorola Droid. Phandroid summarizes: "Starting next month, Verizon Smartphone users with data plans will enjoy free and unlimited Skype-to-Skype calls to anyone on the planet. And you’ll enjoy amazingly cheap Skype International calls as well. All this from Verizon Wireless’ 3G network." Some are wondering how the DoJ and law enforcement will react to a major upsurge in fully encrypted traffic.
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Verizon To Allow Skype Calling On Its Network

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  • Not so fast (Score:5, Interesting)

    by UndyingShadow (867720) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @06:16PM (#31161124)
    From gizmodo.com: However, it appears the service is pretty gimped as you can't call Skype out to regular lines domestically in order to save minutes. Even on AT&T (of all carriers), the fring iPhone app allows Skype-out calling (even though the Skype app still technically does not). When Verizon allows domestic Skype-out, we'll celebrate in full.
  • by BitterOak (537666) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @06:20PM (#31161184)
    In the US at least CALEA [wikipedia.org] requires carriers to allow lawful intercepts by law enforcement agencies of its phone networks. Skype has avoided running afoul of this since their Skype-Skype calls are really computer communications and not telephone communications. And Skype-out and Skype-in calls could be tapped at the POTS endpoint. But if Skype-Skype calls can be made on phones rather than computers now, then CALEA would probably apply, and Skype would have to modify their protocols to allow access to law enforcement. IANAL, so perhaps some lawyers could provide some insight here.
  • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @06:38PM (#31161426)

    It sure would be nice if you could only buy a data plan. Unfortunately, any I have seen seem to also want you to pay a minimum of $40/month for voice before they will connect you.. And then again, they seem think that SMS messages are neither Voice, nor Data... The only exception have been air-cards for devices, like the MiFi, but they seem to have much more expensive data plans, and don't pretend to call them unlimited.

  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @07:19PM (#31161874) Homepage Journal
    If Verizon is now Skype-friendly, then the next thing I want to see is for them to allow Skype calls from their FiOS set-top boxes. These boxes have USB ports and are already connected to the Internet. It would be a great way for Verizon to really stick it to those cable companies (whose anti-FiOS advertising has been getting downright nasty lately) -- imagine being able to just plug a $20 webcam into your set-top box and effortlessly videoconference with Skype users anywhere.

    C'mon Verizon, the infrastructure is already in place ... a few weeks of development and you'd have a killer advantage.
  • Skype collaboration (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DrYak (748999) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @07:21PM (#31161896) Homepage

    Specially since Skype are rather open about the fact they are ready to collaborate with governments if legally asked to.

    Once again : the only *true* privacy/security is complete end-to-end (deniable) encryption where the encryption is under the control of the sender and the decryption under that of the receiver, and everything in between only transits in encrypted form.

    Only opensource phones with publicly available and auditable source-code and that use ZRTP do qualify (like currently Twinkle. Probably Ekiga too at some point in future).
    Being closed source and thus not auditable, Skype doesn't qualify as *under control of sender/receiver*, unless the data it self is already encrypted at the time it is fed into Skype.

    (NOTE:
    Off the Record [cypherpunks.ca] plugin + Skype4pidgin [google.com] plugin does exactly that on Pidgin/Adium with text messages : if both ends of a conversation have OtR running, the message will be encrypted before it is transmitted to Skype API - even if there's a backdoor inside Skype the only thing it sees would be already encrypted text. OtR works with other networks, given the proper plugin. But currently can't work with sound/video, because Skype only accept raw media that have to be compressed)

  • Latency (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bevoblake (1106117) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @07:49PM (#31162252)
    My 3G cell connection has nasty latency (200ish pings generally) and made for a poor skype experience when tethered to my computer. Delays in voice calls are pretty obnoxious when accustomed to cell and landline connections - I don't see this as a viable competitor to cell minute usage even if Verizon allowed skype over 3G to US landlines.

    Has anyone else had any contrary experience?
  • by MrNaz (730548) * on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @08:09PM (#31162492) Homepage

    As an industry long timer (been running a retail store for about 10 years now) I can tell you that the cost of delivering services to you are no longer tied to how much you use. They could give everyone unlimited minutes, and as long as the 2% of crazies were kept in check*, it would make little appreciable difference to their bottom line.

    Use is only restricted for the purpose of tiered billing according to the amount of use each person desires, so that they can offer a set of distinguished products.

    Costs are wound up in administrative overhead, engineering and R&D expenses etc. They won't make a loss on a plan at all, ever, because total operating costs are now quite divorced from network usage, and this is only becoming more and more the case.

    * The only issue is ensuring that total network traffic remains below total network capacity, and the number of users that cause this to even be an issue is small. Keep them on a leash and capacity issues don't exist.

  • by EdIII (1114411) * on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:33PM (#31163286)

    Exactly. Screw Skype. The big story here *IS* VOIP being allowed through Verizon in such an open manner.

    Personally, I don't care at all about the concerns of government and law enforcement. Ultimately, I think it is far far far far *FAR* worse for citizens to be monitored by their governments/law enforcement agencies than whatever Lions, Tigers, and Bears arguments used to justify such monitoring.

    What I look forward to is when I can run a ZRTP enabled client and establish endpoint-to-endpoint encrypted communications that make it impossible (without cryptanalysis) for the carriers to allow intercepts.

    There is no way I would ever trust Skype to protect my communications. I would never trust a proprietary closed source solution for that matter anyways.

    This seems like it will only be a matter of time till I can run the SIP client of my choice on my Verizon Wireless smartphone, and that, is very cool.

  • by EdIII (1114411) * on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:45PM (#31163370)

    My first computer that I bought only had 850mhz, and it was no slouch back at the turn of the century (wow, it's fun to say that :))

    Your name is 'kid' genius... LOL. Get off my lawn boy!!!

    You do make feel old though, my first system was an 8086 which was only FIVE mhz. I also had an Apple IIe, which was slower if I remember correctly.

    For some of us here on Slashdot the average Netbook/Smartphone seems like a portable freakin' supercomputer compared to what we had even 15 years ago. It's only the bloatware that slows it down now, which is not really fair, considering all the code it has to run in the background now to give you all that functionality you probably take for granted (nothing wrong with that)

    Crap, I remember when I saw my first true 1.6 million color video game way way back. I thought that was unbelievable at the time given my current experience was a Nintendo for graphics.

    Of course, somebody is going to come along and yell at both of us here shortly and remind us about punch cards.......

    I think you are entirely correct though. There is no such thing as a phone anymore. They are all just computers running some firmware that gives them access to the GSM/CDMA radios and abilities to place calls. Almost a secondary feature compared to all the other stuff they are doing now.

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