Skype extends "unlimited" calling plans

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Skype extends "unlimited" calling plans

Skype has introduced new monthly subscription plans, extending its pre-paid VoIP packages to landlines and mobile phones in 170 countries.

The new subscription offerings were launched last week, replacing Skype's previous "unlimited" plans that were launched in 34 countries in April 2008.

According to Skype's Asia Pacific vice president and general manager Dan Neary, the new monthly subscriptions would save customers 60 percent off the standard pay-as-you-go rates.

Australian customers could now pre-pay their monthly local calls for $1.49 for 60 minutes to landlines, $7.99 for "unlimited" calls to landlines or $12.99 for 60 minutes to landlines and mobiles.

There was also an "Unlimited World" offering for $15.99 that included calls to landlines in 40 countries and mobiles in countries such as the U.S., Canada, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Skype's "unlimited" offerings were bound by a fair use policy limiting users to 10,000 minutes per month, six hours per day and no more than 50 different numbers per day.

"We had some positive changes in our business with the expansion of our calling destinations from 40 to over 170 countries," Neary told iTnews.

"We also are now including calls to mobile phones as part of our low monthly rates. Overall, we are working hard to make it even easier for consumers to pick the calling plan that works for them."

Citing January 2010 data from TeleGeography Research, Neary said Skype accounted for 12 percent of the world's international calling minutes in 2009.

It exited 2009 with $716m in revenue, after being sold by eBay for $2.75 billion to an investor group led by U.S. private equity firm Silver Lake in November 2009.

Skype currently has half a billion registered users and adds 400,000 new users per day, Neary said.

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