Skype; the world’s biggest VoIP telephony service has finally launched their highly anticipated app for the Android platform. With this new launch, Skype users shall be able to make free VoIP calls to other Skype users as well as text message for free over their Android handsets. The app is compatible over Android OS 2.1 or later and is available in all Android marketplaces except those in Japan and China. The app works over both 3G and Wi-Fi except in USA where it is Wi-Fi only.
The competition in the mobile VoIP calling space is evident considering that Fring too has announced an update to their app close on the heels of the Skype app launch. The latest update brings users the ability to call phone numbers over VoIP with the FringOut service. FringOut is available for as low as 1 cent per minute inside USA and is already available on the Symbian platform.
Fring has announced that a similar feature will be provided on the iPhone platform too shortly.
Fring, the popular P2P mobile VoIP client has launched a new service called FringOut that, quite evidently, takes on the SkypeOut landline/mobile calling feature offered by Skype. The FringOut service was launched yesterday and brings extremely cheap voice-calling to mobile phones. According to the company’s media statement, VoIP calls over FringOut have a starting price of 1 cent per minute.
FringOut is presently available only on the Nokia S60 platform. However, the company is expected to be bringing the service to the iOS and Android platforms too very soon. With an already burgeoning user base and attractive pricing, FringOut can prove to be a real alternative to SkypeOut. However, one does need to be sure about the voice quality. If Fring can manage to equal Skype, or better them for that matter, expect the popularity of the new service to spike up in the days to come.
Last week, Verizon signed a bizarre deal with Skype. According to the terms of the deal, Verizon will embed Skype’s click to call application by default on all Verizon powered smartphones. The company said this will give its users the ability to quickly make calls to anywhere in the world using Skype.
Why is this bizarre? Because there is apparently no take away whatsoever for Verizon. Not only is Skype able to reach out to Verizon’s subscribers in a quick and easy way, but also the VoIP solution to call international numbers would mean loss of lucrative dollars to Verizon.
More insights about the deal are now coming to light. According to a report on GigaOm, the deal between Verizon and Skype could be exclusive in nature. This would forbid the VoIP service from making their 3G based calling solution available to rival networks, including AT&T which is the operator for iPhone. It is believed as an aggressive approach that Verizon has employed to deprive iPhone customers of a much in-demand service that could motivate them to move to rival platforms and potentially become Verizon customers.
I do believe that Verizon’s strategy appears far-fetched. While Skype is no doubt the most popular VoIP service, it is by no means the only one. Competitor services like Fring are already available over 3G and this means users will more interested in trying out these alternative VoIP over 3G services.