Is Skype coming to Verizon phones?

Verizon Wireless appears to have an alliance brewing with VoIP provider Skype. The two companies today announced they will be holding a joint news conference Tuesday at the upcoming Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain. Though neither company provided any further details, it's possible the firms will unveil a Skype client for Verizon handsets. Speaking at the press conference next week are John Stratton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Verizon Wireless, and Josh Silverman, CEO of Skype.

An alliance between the two long-time adversaries would be notable. Skype has openly challenged wireless carriers over what it perceives as their closed network mentality. In fact, Christopher Libertelli, Skype's senior director of government and regulatory affairs for North America, told FierceWireless in an interview last year that U.S. carriers were only paying lip service to the idea of open networks because they were fearful of what an open network strategy would do to their business model.

However, Verizon has become much more amenable to working with its former enemies. In October, the company announced a partnership with longtime rival Google, a teaming that has so far produced a handful of Verizon-powered Android phones. At the time, Verizon also said it would support Google Voice.

And Verizon isn't the only carrier easing on the topic. AT&T Mobility had long been criticized for preventing VoIP iPhone application from running on its 3G network. However, the carrier relented on the topic last year, thereby paving the way for Skype's iPhone app to transmit low-cost calls across its AT&T's cellular network (previously, only WiFi connections could carry VoIP calls).

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