Three months ago Skype and TELUS announced an agreement whereby TELUS Mobility, a Canadian carrier, would become proactive in supporting Skype through several initiatives:
- Providing full platform and customer support for the use of Skype on iPhones and Android phones
- Offering a Skype edition LG Optimus Black phone powered by Android with a pre-installed Skype client, support for Bluetooth connectivity and 60 minutes of SkypeOut calling
- Purchase of Skype credit in $5, $10 and $20 amounts charged to the customer’s TELUS account
- Offering Skype with TELUS’ Data Flex Plan whereby data charges are automatically incremented with increased usage. For instance, using <500MB in one month will cost $35 but using 1MB to 2MB in the subsequent month would cost $55.
Late last week I received promotional emails from Skype (in fact, one email for every Skype account registered in my name) that would appear to be going to Skype’s Canadian users. This is the first indication that TELUS is now executing on their agreement with Skype.
On scanning the TELUS Mobility website:
- Skype is proactively being promoted on any iPhone with iOS 4.0 and any Android phone with at least Android 2.1
- Skype credit can be purchased either from a telusmobility.com web page or via a text message that delivers the link for purchase.
- Skype effectively becomes the recommended international long distance service for any of the supported phones
- TELUS is deploying Skype on their 4G network with 21Mbps speeds, being upgraded in many locations to 42Mbps and LTE over the next few months. However, they expect users to see download speeds of 4-6 Mbps in practice.
- Skype is also being heavily promoted on their recently released Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate 4G running under Android 2.3. A $29.99 purchase price requires a minimum $50/month voice and data plan.
The one cautionary note is battery life. As mentioned in a previous post covering Skype for Android, when running Skype, battery life can be shortened to as little as 3 to 4 hours. This is reinforced on some otherwise very favourable TELUS user comments on the Samsung Galaxy S phone (click on the Reviews tab):
It does have a good battery life, as long as you are closing your apps and other programs properly. Leave stuff open, watch too much video, use the camera, and other battery-draining apps, and yes you will run your battery dry in 1/2 a day. Use it in moderation, along with your casual texting and communication tasks and you will be fine for a day’s worth.
The combination of a 4G Samsung Galaxy S Android phone with Android 2.3 should be sufficient for making Skype video calls on the Fascinate 4G. However, as TELUS is effectively pre-installing a Skype client on these phones, they need to complete some testing and Android software upgrades before confirming that video calling works. In the meantime, if you are able to have a video call experience with either of these phones, please enter a Comment below. TELUS did inform me that video calling will work with the forthcoming 4G Samsung Galaxy S II X .
Skype’s support by TELUS is different from its previous offerings with Verizon in that TELUS is supporting a full Skype for Android peer-to-peer Skype client delivering Instant Messaging, participation in Skype multi-party calls and mood message – and it works over an LTE network. Based on other Skype for Android features it should include native address book integration; as discussed above it certainly has the potential to work with Skype video calling.
The initial Verizon service is a voice and Instant messaging service over a 3G network with no potential for video calling due to its underlying calling architecture which also requires gateway server overhead. On the other hand Verizon did announce plans, at CES, for offering new Android phones that would run Skype, including video calling, on their forthcoming LTE network. (But Andy Abramson seems to be having difficulty with video calling of any kind specifically on Verizon.)
Bottom line: TELUS is now offering full support of Skype on iOS devices and designated Android phones, where the latter is providing customers with a seamless path to both acquiring and sustaining Skype services. Provided they have an appropriate data plan users can make free voice (and video?) calls worldwide to their Skype contacts and low cost international calls to landlines and mobile phones worldwide.
For Skype it becomes another contribution to SkypeOut revenues; there is no mention of any royalty arrangements when it comes to revenues generated associated with the purchase of Skype-enabled Android phones. TELUS, as Canada’s third wireless carrier in subscriber base, demonstrates its aggressiveness once again through a unique offering in the Canadian market. While making it available to their existing customer base, time will tell if Skype support becomes a primary reason for adopting Skype; I have yet to see any TELUS advertising promoting Skype.
- Skype joins forces with TELUS to bring affordable international calling rates to customers in Canada (blogs.skype.com)
- Skype 2.1 for Android enables video on majority of Android devices (blogs.skype.com)
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