In yet another sign of Skype’s heavyweight presence in the global voice arena, the VoIP provider has unveiled new calling plans for more countries
Skype has announced new calling plans for both mobile phones and landlines across the world, as the popular VoIP provider continues to gather momentum as a serious rival to more established telecos in the international voice arena.
Since its launch in October 2005, the SkypeOut service has become a firm favourite for people with family members overseas, as it allows them to call international landline and mobile phones, at far cheaper rates than a conventional international call.
Indeed, Skype is now one of the largest international voice carriers and accounts for 12 percent of the world’s international calls, according to TeleGeography Research.
So in an effort to broaden its appeal, Skype is rolling out calling plans to more than 170 countries (it was limited to 40 countries beforehand). The advantage, according to Skype, of a calling plan, is that customers should be to see savings of up to 60 percent, compared to the standard Pay As You Go rates associated with SkypeOut.
Skype is offering subscription plans that provide 60-minute to unlimited packages, and users can decided whether to buy one-month, three-month or 12-month calling subscriptions.
Prices start from €0.89 (£1.09) per month, and offer effective rates as low as €0.01 (£.01) per minute to almost any destination around the globe.
Skype is hoping to make international calling easier, as users can essentially customise their calling plans in just three simple steps. First they decide which countries they need to call. Secondly they decide if they want to call mobile phones, landlines (or both). Thirdly, they chose the plan that best suits their needs.
“Skype’s new monthly subscriptions lower the cost of international calling and make it simple to choose the plan that best meets your needs,” said Neil Stevens, General Manager of Skype’s Consumer Business Unit. “People around the world can now have the simplicity and flexibility to call almost any phone in the world for less.”
Skype Group Video
Meanwhile it seems that Skype will be offering a public “beta” test of a group video calling function next week. This allows Skype users to talk for free on video, but now they can invite up to five people to join the video conversation simultaneously.
With businesses increasingly buying into video conferencing, this could prove another driver for making video calls, instead of opting for costly overseas travel.
It seems that while this group video option will be free initially, Skype does intend to start charging for it in the future.