In the US, the two aging grandads of cellular have been duking it out on TV commercials like a pair of old politicians tied in the polls two weeks before a gubernatorial election. Both claim to be the best of the two at exactly the same things: both have the most extensive data coverage, both have the highest customer satisfaction, both are innovative. And, just like the two old pols, both are full of it. When it comes to coverage, customer satisfaction, and particularly innovation, both are far behind their counterparts in Europe and Asia.
Still, in the past week, Verizon has managed to squeak out a bit of a lead, particularly among US VoIP heads, because the company began offering its Android and Blackberry using customers something AT&T has been waffling on: Skype service using the 3G network.
Let it be said that offering and making something usable are two entirely different things. Skype over 3G works OK, some of the time. But let’s face it, even if Verizon’s 3G is more capable than AT&T’s iPhone-saturated network, that edge is very bare. Often times, calls on Skype over 3G is an exercise in aggravation control as voice packets get lost, callers sound like they’ve jumped into the ocean, or calls just get cut off.
Wishing for a little WiFi Skype action on your Verizon phone? Keep wishing. It’s not offered now nor, as this post on Skype’s official blog seems to hint, is it planned in the near future.
Skyper Peter Parkes’ single best explanation for the lack of WiFi support on Verizon is that 3G is friendlier to your cell phone’s battery than WiFi.”Using Verizon’s own 3G network means that you’ll be able to talk for longer, with fewer trips back to the charger,” writes Parkes.
In other words, half the Skype calls you make on your Droid may be garbled by the 3G monster, but you’ll be able to make more of them.
Thanks to Skype and Verizon for deciding for us which side of the trade-off we should all be on.