Verizon (s vz) is putting Skype on more phones: feature phones. Skype, the Voice over IP (VOIP) client Verizon added to smartphones in February, will now run on feature phones using the BREW platform, including phones from LG and Samsung. This is a good deal for Skype, as it greatly broadens the audience for its services on the Verizon network. The latest figures show feature phones still outnumber smartphones by three to one in the U.S., and will continue to do so until next year.
Verizon entered into the exclusive alliance with Skype just a few months ago, likely to give the carrier an advantage over the iPhone (s aapl) as reported by Om Malik. The deal was good for Skype as it broadened its exposure to smartphones on the largest carrier in the U.S. Prior to the Verizon deal, Skype had claimed it had a 3G version of its app ready for AT&T’s (s t) network but was holding it back from the market.
The new Skype service for feature phones allows people to make free Skype calls to other Skype users from compatible Verizon phones such as the LG enV TOUCH, LG Chocolate Touch and Samsung Reality. Skype-to-Skype calls can be made to any Skype user, even those on smartphones. Skype calls can also be made free to landlines or mobile phones, but will cost customers their Verizon call minutes. International calls provide the greatest value, with some as cheap as $6.99 monthly, paid with Skype credits.
Verizon customers can get the new Skype app in a number of ways: downloading it through Verizon’s Get It Now service or simply texting SKYPE to 2255 for a link to the download.
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