[Update] Skype Blocks Fring From Connecting for Video Calls


Well this just sounds downright petty. Fring was long being heralded as the video-chatting tool of choice for many new devices to launch in recent weeks with a front-facing camera (including the Samsung Galaxy S, the HTC EVO 4G, and the iPhone 4). Their service allowed you to chat not only with other Fring users, but with your friends on Skype as well. The solution would quickly make front-facing cameras a very desirable addition to the phones of Skype users everywhere, but Fring wasn’t technically ready to handle all that traffic.


They had to temporarily block their users from using Fring to call their friends using Skype while they work to improve performance, but Skype disallowed the reversal of that procedure – it no longer works. Fring CEO Avi Shechter clearly wasn’t happy with their decision, stating:

“We are disappointed that Skype, who once championed the cause of openness, is now attempting to muzzle competition, even to the detriment of its own users” said Avi Shechter, fring’s Co-Founder and CEO “We apologize to our users for the impact of Skype’s bullying and we will be happy to reconnect with Skype once Skype reverses their decision.” Avi continued, “We believe in communication openness and know that users will continue to vote with their mobile phones – opting for fring’s innovation, clarity, honesty and openness”.

Skype – who partnered with Verizon to provide their subscribers with exclusive access to the popular VoIP client – has already expressed interest in bringing video to their mobile client before the end of the year. In other parts of the world, that won’t be a problem, but Verizon doesn’t have a device with a front-facing camera yet to take advantage of that. Anything can change before the year closes, of course, but Verizon’s 5GB data cap doesn’t provide much hope for what’s definitely a data-intensive service (that was mirrored when they opted to go with a version of the Samsung Galaxy S that excludes a front-facing camera, unlike Sprint who will offer the Epic 4G under a “true” unlimited data plan as they currently do the HTC EVO 4G).

Does this break the deal for anyone that often used Skype to chat with their friends while on the go?

[via Androinica]

[Update]: Looks like we have ourselves a bit of a finger pointing game going on here. Originally, Fring updated the masses on the reason they disabled Skype access in their Android and iPhone apps: the traffic became much too difficult for them to handle and they wanted to improve performance before re-introducing connectivity. They reportedly attempted to bring the service back online for testing, but was denied access by way of Skype.

It looks like one of these sides (or both, even) isn’t giving us the full story. Skype chimed in with us to update us on the matter, saying that Fring decided to remove Skype functionality and that Skype had no part in blocking Fring at all.

Skype has been in discussions with Fring regarding our belief that Fring is breaching our API Terms of Use and End User Licence Agreement. Skype is disappointed that an amicable resolution was not possible. There is no truth to Fring’s claims that Skype blocked them, it was their decision and choice to withdraw Skype functionality.

We’re back at square one, no? Skype couldn’t reach a resolution with Fring after discussing their terms in regards to API usage. That’s sensible, but why would Fring outright lie, calling Skype “cowards” and accusing them of stifling competition, openness, and innovation? That’s a question one of these sides will have to answer as we’re all just spectators in what has turned out to be quite the interesting bicker fest, and we’ll be right here to bring you guys the latest in what’s surely looking to turn into one big mess of legal battles.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

Verizon Stores Beginning to Stock Up on Droid X Devices

Previous article

MediaTek Joins Open Handset Alliance to Bring its Processors to Low-Cost Android Phones

Next article

You may also like


  1. What Verizon 2GB data cap are you referring to exactly? Did you mean AT&T?

  2. F#ck you, Skype…! You’ve lost my traffic…

  3. Verizon has a 2GB cap for tethering and a 5GB cap for all data

  4. According to Android Central, this was all Fring’s doing. From
    “Skype has been in discussions with Fring regarding our belief that Fring is breaching our API Terms of Use and End User Licence Agreement. Skype is disappointed that an amicable resolution was not possible but Fring’s decision to withdraw Skype functionality immediately was of its own choice. Skype encourages developers to build products that work with Skype in accordance with our various API licences. However, Skype will rigorously protect its brand and reputation and those companies that do not comply with our terms will be subject to enforcement.”

  5. ooh well time to cancel Skype.

  6. @Dave
    Since when did verizon get a 5gb cap? I’ve gone over and haven’t charged or anything.

  7. Verizon has no cap for wireless phone devices… it is only the little anywhere internet devices for computers. they do that because people with those devices are using the 3G network to download movies and music which swamps the network! as long as you no teather to a computer you no have to worry about caps…. yet…. wait until LTS then we’ll see

  8. 5Gb cap has been there for awhile now. At least 5 months.

  9. No cap on me I go over 5GB almost regularly with my device because of file transfer from a remote site for work.. No extra charge to me still says unlimited usage

  10. Where is the Skype Android app for anyone not in the US. Oh yes, that’s right it doesn’t exist yet!! There is no ‘official’ way to use Skype for anything on Android, never mind video calls.

    At the small company I work at, we are rapidly tiring of Skype and pro-actively investigating other platforms. This just helps to make our move away from Skype all the faster.

  11. Check this out! This is the skype blog post stating that they did not “block” fring, but saying they “ruined” the skype experience –

    ALSO, I bet Verizon had something to do with this. You know they only want people to use the skype app so they are forced into using THEIR data coverage (ie. no WIFI skyping) and therefore reep all of the benefits from those that want to skype with their phone from out of the country.

  12. @Quentyn – You bring the popcorn and I’ll bring the drinks.

  13. Well as the early adopter amongst my friends I will now longer be sending out Skype invites to anybody. Who knows when I will actually be able to use it on my EVO. Skype, epic fail.
    Fring, epic fail.

    Now I only wish I had waited for the i4 so Apple could have tracked all my Facetime chats by sending duration, locations, video and audio content to the mothership for analysis in real time.

    which is worse not being able to use a feature or being spied on whilst using said feature.

    As a consumer my ass hurts right now.

  14. These Verizon data cap rumors have been floating around since Droid launched. There is no truth to them. They arose from a misunderstanding of some tethering rules that Verizon put in place at that time. Unlimited phone data literally means unlimited. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, ask them to point you to where they got their information.

  15. Creating a Verizon only Android app was one thing. This is ridiculous.

    Canceling Skype.

    (Nexus One on Rogers in Canada)

  16. 5GB cap = All Verizon devices. If you haven’t gotten “caught” going over your 5GB limit then you are getting lucky. I have gone over myself and not received any penalty because they haven’t noticed or because it wasn’t by much. However, I do have a friend who had his data plan cancelled by Verizon without warning due to exceeding this 5GB cap. What is really disturbing to me is they sell you an “unlimited” data plan and hide in the fine print of this “unlimited” plan that if you exceed 5GB of data a month they will assume that you are using your phone in a manner that either violates their terms and conditions (ex. wireless tethering or tethering without purchasing a tethering plan) or you are pirating movies or music. This is a ridiculous assumption as you can exceed this limit doing things that are perfectly legal as well (ex. watching a whole lot of YouTube or downloading lots of open-source files.)

  17. I would tend to believe Skype over Fring. In the past when I’ve used Fring and tried to get help from them their XMPP protocol, they stated that it was my XMPP server that was improperly configured (yet every other XMPP client worked just fine). They eventually stated that there were problems with their XMPP, and they would fix it. Months later, they removed the XMPP option and said it was no longer available (but still allowed gtalk!?). I just don’t get them… and I don’t believe them.

  18. I think it’s time to put the 5gb B.S. to rest. Really, has anyone on Verizon been charged for exceeding 5gb when using their phone???

    5gb is only applicable to the mobile broadband cards.

  19. Uninstalling……Fring is no longer on my Droid

  20. Just so everyone knows, as I have been reading this continuously, you can still do Fring to Fring video calls. My friend just bought an iPhone4 and we do it all of the time. You can no longer use Skype, and I was only using that for video calls to people on their laptops; but phone to phone is still ok.

  21. I just hope they also support normal cameras. Sometimes it would be great to be able to show someone something while talking to them over the phone, think in the datacenter.

  22. Its amazing…
    First they make it exclusive to Verizon which violates all forms of customer service. I also pay for my minutes!!! F**** People!

  23. The only reason i used Fring was so that I could use skype over 3g or wifi. Now i have no contacts on my Fring account, and I can’t call my mates in Australia at all because the android skype app doesnt allow wifi, and costs money on 3g. Pathetic. Time to get everyone to move onto the next service i think…

  24. Ouch! Fring worked really well, too.

  25. sheesh, use another video conferencing protocol


  27. Fuck you all. Ya cock suckin morons.

  28. /Quote
    25. Jancis wrote on July 14, 2010

    sheesh, use another video conferencing protocol
    /end Quote

    Which other, worldwide distributed, working Android protocol would that be?

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Apps