Voice-over-IP provider and Ebay property Skype began offering unlimited long-distance calling for landline numbers in 34 countries, an effort to increase the division's footprint to a third of the world's population.
As of April 21, users can make calls whenever they want wherever they want to landlines for $9.95 per month. The countries include most of Europe, as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Malaysia.
Moreover, Skype users can now make unlimited calls to landlines in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey, as well as discounted rates to landlines and cell phones in the rest of Mexico for $5.95 a month. The new subscription plans follow Skype's original offer of unlimited calls in the United States and Canada for $2.95 per month.
The move will help connect Skype users with more people who do not make calls through their PCs.
Users can click here for more details. Moreover, users who purchase one of the new subscriptions for a three-month or 12-month period before June 1 will receive a further 33 percent discount.
Grow the Skype Base
The subscription plans are part of Skype's push to go beyond its current base of 309 million users. The plans will also provide increased calling opportunities for Skype users, as well as those holding out for more coverage.
In the short term, the new subscriptions are not going to let Skype conquer phone carrier incumbents, such as AT&T or Verizon. But it could help the company better compete with VOIP providers such as Vonage and cable companies offering similar plans.
The plans will also provide increased calling opportunities for Skype users, as well as those holding out for more coverage.
Interestingly, the move comes as rumors fly that eBay will sell its property to Google, or some other vendor looking to fortify its communications portfolio. TechCrunch has been promising a Google-rooted partnership or acquisition for weeks.
Ebay CEO John Donahoe has reportedly told Financial Times he will consider selling the VOIP property, which eBay bought for $3.1 billion in 2005.
Meanwhile, Skype's customer base is impossible to deny, but the company doesn't have the same adoption among businesses and may soon feel the heat from startups that stitch VOIP capabilities with business applications.
Startup Ribbit, for example, is in advanced stages of a test that blends click-to-call and voice automation capabilities with Salesforce.com's customer relationship management application.