Skype adds yearly unlimited calling plan

Earlier this year, VoIP provider Skype proclaimed that their SkypeOut service would be free for the remainder of 2006. SkypeOut, if you're not familiar, is the portion of the service which interfaces with the standard telephone network and makes it easy for you to call Mom without Mom having to worry about configuring her computer. Well, 2006 is nearly up, so what's the deal going to be for the next year?

Today Skype announced that SkypeOut would be available for $30 for a year, with unlimited calling in the US or Canada. Previously, SkypeOut operated only on a pay-per-minute scheme, charging a few cents for every minute that your call lasted. The charges per minute varied depending on whether they were domestic and international, but they were usually pretty cheap across the board. How does the new plan compare?

Well, it works out to $2.50 a month, which is a pretty nice deal if you do a lot of calling. Even better, if you sign up before the end of January, you'll be able to snag the year for half price ($14.95).

The old system of purchasing credit is still an option (at a rate of 2.1 cents/minute for US and Canada), which is nice, since I still have around €7 in my account. As my cell phone does free long distance, I'm not too tempted but it still seems like a good offer.

[via Ars Technica ]

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