Mar 25 AT 12:07 PM Taylor Wimberly 22 Comments

Skype Mobile for Verizon does not make calls over WiFi, but fring does

As some of you may have noticed, Skype Mobile was released early this morning exclusively for Verizon Wireless customers. Anyone with the big V can download the app from the Android Market right now.

Let’s start with the good. Verizon customers can now make unlimited Skype-to-Skype calls from their Android phone.

What is the catch though? Skype calls are routed over Verizon’s network and Skype Mobile will not even launch if you have WiFi turned on. Users will see a warning message that Skype “does not currently work on WiFi” so it is possible this feature could be supported in a future release.

So what do you do if you want to use Skype on your Android device but don’t have Verizon? Thankfully, there are many alternative Android apps witch allow you to login to Skype AND make calls over a WiFi connection for free.

One of my favorite apps is fring which is available for everyone on the Android Market. Fring allows free calling over WiFi and lets you connect with your AIM, Gtalk, ICQ, MSN, Skype, Twitter, and Yahoo friends. Users can make voice calls or chat and future versions should allow for video communications.

I have a Droid with no Verizon service, so I’m unable to give my full impressions on the Skype app. If you have tried out Skype Mobile, let us know how it performs.

Source: Verizon

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://uloops.net k7k0

    What about some nimbuzz vs. fring analysis?

    • http://Website Telemaniaka

      I was thinking the same thing, everyone always mentions fring but not a word about nimbuzz. I too would like to request a numbuzz vs fring analysis.

      • http://Website NotSoSilent

        Personally I prefer Nimbuzz, it has a cleaner look and it doesn’t pull in all your contacts that are on your phone like Fring. Also the last version of fring I used, you can’t switch between the phone and speaker, with Nimbuzz you can.

        • http://www.google.com/profiles/anakin78z anakin78z

          You can tell Fring not to pull in your contacts.
          But I do have an issue with Fring not staying signed in. I realize this is somewhat of an Android issue, but how about making a high priority service, so that I can stay signed into skype if I really want to be.
          How is Nimbuzz in this respect?

          • http://Website Telemaniaka

            After the latest update Nimbuzz has a lot more stable connection but if you play around with the phone too much Android will kill nimbuzz to free up memory and processing power.
            I don’t use it for calls so I can’t say how it performs there but I really like the fact that it pulls down the avatars of your contacts and the way it looks in general.

  • Brian Stringfellow

    Skype Mobile is great for calling other skype users abroad, but that’s pretty much it. For any other type of call, there are better alternatives. For Verizon users to call each other, the call is free anyway. For domestic calls during peak time, Google Voice with Friends & Family is the best option. Lastly, for international toll calls, Google Voice is cheaper than Skype and by a large degree in many cases like calls to mobile numbers.

    I just deleted Skype from my Droid after noticing it was running hot. Killed Skype twice and even had it set to not launch automatically. Rebooted and it still was hot after a few minutes, checked and Skype must have launched all on its own. Uninstalled it, processor slowed down, cooled off and now everything seems normal. Not say it was Skype for sure, tha’ts just what happened.

    • http://Website finewine

      Mobile Skype does not give free skype to skype calls internationally as it does on PC. The best source for free international calls is Rebtel’s smart call. I’ve talked 2 hours overseas for free using my plan’s minutes w/o additional charges. Not being able to use Wifi prevents the free skype to skype calls internationally.
      Does fring allow FREE international calls via phone’s data or is there an international fee?

      • http://Website Rosemary Marzano

        I’d like to know also if Fring has free international calling. I downloaded fring and made an international call using Fring. I got a $18.00 phone charge on my TMobile bill…what the heck?? I downloaded Fring but apparently there must be something else I need to get free calling????
        What does SIP (that is on Fring as an add on) do, and do I NEED that…if so, how, what, where, how much, etc????
        Also, is there video on Fring…if so, I can;t find it…I only see Skyp out calling.

  • http://Website ryan

    Isn’t this a benefit? People arent limited to making Skype calls just over wifi but anywhere on the data network.

    • http://Website Ryan

      @ryan It’s not a benefit if you forced to use the VZ network. They have a limit on their unlimited service, so some may prefer to use Skype over WiFi as not to use up some of their data usage.

      From your comment, I’m not sure you realize it’s not an option to use WiFi or VZ. It’s only VZ…no WiFi. Major issue IMHO.

      • http://Website H S

        Ryan, using Skype over VZ network does not up your data usage. It is not going over 3G data, but over verizon’s voice network. It’s still kind of lame you can’t use wifi if you’re in a place that doesn’t have good cellphone coverage. On the upside, you can use skype in a place that has good voice coverage but crappy 3g coverage.

        • http://Website cubicleslave

          People talk about going over the VZW network as if it’s no big deal. Well, it is a huge deal. Going over the VZW network burns up your cell minutes. It’s just like making a regular cell phone call. So if your cell plan gives you 300 “anytime minutes”, you will be using up those minutes if you make a Skype Mobile call to a USA number during the peak period of your plan. And if you go over 300 minutes, you will be charged for the overage just the same way as you would if you used your cell phone. In other words, “no wifi” is Verizon’s way of giving us “Skype” while still preserving its lucrative pricing structure for domestic cell phone service. I don’t think this is a temporary situation. This is Verizon protecting their cash cow, and it will be permanent. With that said, are there any android programmers who can jailbreak the Skype Mobile app, to enable calls to domestic numbers over 3G & wifi ?

          • http://Website Stephen

            You and everyone missunderstand how it works. First of all, the skype app for vzw only gives you WORLDWIDE skype to skype calls for free (no telephone numbers being used, just username to username) initiated in the US and those calls DO go over the data network, not voice. There is also no cap or limit on cellular data. The 5gb cap everyone worries about ONLY applies to tethering plans, so stop counting your MB’s.

            When you use skype to call any telephone number it is just acting as a substitute dialing screen. Its still a regular cellular phone call (it also warns you of this before you actually continue with the call in case ur some idiot that thinks you can call internationally for free just because, look several posts above).

            The reason you cant make regular calls through skypes voip network is because there would then be no point to have a verizon voice plan because unlimited voice calls to US, Canada, and PR is only $3/month and prices are incrementally higher for different international calling plans. Verizon is not in the business of going out of business so they would never allow skype to offer that fuctionality.

            Wifi. They did not include this feature to prevent international use. They want you to use their international plans and pay data roaming (where cdma is actually available, for now, other cellular tech soon to come). Now, I think this is going way overboard and an embarrasment to show this amount of greed.

            The reason I feel this way is because of the following: if you want to use Skype full time to receive Skype calls, this means that you can never use wifi. This also means that you cannot use data intensive apps like SPBTV or other streaming apps without huge degredation of quality. Some apps like TV.com will only let you view certain epsisodes when wifi is enabled, so much for that if your waiting for a skype call. Then theres the obvious, areas that simply do not have good data coverage where the ability to use wifi would be necessary.

            Now, the good news however is that there is an app that goes by the name of “Fring” that works on both wifi/3G and can be used with many different clients including Skype.

            Hope this clears things up for everyone reading.
            Happy Skyping!

    • http://Website Kevin

      The biggest issue is that not only will it not do WiFi, but it doesn’t make calls over the data network either. So the option to just pay for a data plan and skype minutes is out of the question. Guess they planned it that way. =(

  • http://Website Steve

    Of course Verizon planned it that way… they make serious bucks by charging hefty sums for things like your plan minutes, and even more lucrative: international long distance minutes. (Trust me, I’ve been surprised by them once.)

    This is their way of trying (probably in vain) to push people into paying for services that people have already found a way around.

    So I’ll be trying Nimbuzz or Fring (which should allow unlimited Skype to Skype, anywhere, anytime, any network). As a rule, you’re best off ignoring anything suggested by a carrier – you can bet it’s only to benefit them, not you.

  • http://Website rob

    The phone numbers that skype uses are Verizon mobile numbers. = in network = free

  • http://Website Mrs Ellison

    Skype over verizon service really great!! I like it the only thing i do not like is that you can not use skype mobile if you travel outside of the US. any insite as to why? or when it will be available?

  • http://Website krazee dave

    fring no longer supports skype. per skypes request,, voip goodbye–
    I used fring on a mission trip to haiti- was my only contact to my family- android verizon had no service there but wifi with the local hospital worked- fring let me talk to my daughter back home– sad to see it no longer working with skype.. skype mobile is really a bit of a joke- it is ported over a wireless phone number and land line based. but verizon is getting its minutes……. (a way to not give up bandwidth they offer unlimited…)

  • http://Website manalu

    I downloaded fring for ma iPod n made account in voip also bt when I start caling from it it just rings n nothng else I can’t talk to tht person wat should I do

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  • http://Website pm

    It stinks that coming France and can’t talk to my kids because Verizon wants to make a Buck off me.