Sun, Apr 17, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Skype launching more premium VOIP services

DEATH OF DISTANCE The software maker's voice-over-internet software has had 100 million downloads


Software maker Skype said Friday that it was launching two more premium services as the number of downloads of its popular program surpassed 100 million.

The company also said it was launching SkypeIn and Skype Voicemail, two premium services available in the latest download versions of Skype software for Linux, MAC OS X, Pocket PC and Windows platforms.

Skype's signature program lets computer users call each other online for free anywhere in the world.

The new SkypeIn offers users personal numbers and lets them receive inbound calls from the Skype program from land lines or mobile phones without having to pay roaming charges.

Skype Voicemail lets users manage incoming messages.

"Skype is setting new standards for modern communications by expanding premium services that extend Skype portability, mobility and ubiquity across a variety of platforms, including the traditional phone network," said Niklas Zennstrom, the company's chief executive and co-founder.

"SkypeIn and Skype Voicemail enhance the basic free Skype and give friends, family and colleagues not connected to the Internet an inexpensive and convenient way to contact members of our global user base," he said.

The new offerings came as Skype, which is based in Luxembourg and founded in Sweden, said that downloads of its signature program surpassed 100 million.

SkypeIn works by letting users choose a country and area code and then receive a regular phone number.

Users can purchase up to three numbers from their home country in Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States during the beta period.

Skype Voicemail customers can receive a voicemail message up to 10 minutes long from any user or traditional phone and tailor their messages.

Both services will be sold in pre-paid chunks, the company said.

Three-month SkypeIn subscriptions are available for euro10 (US$13) and 12-month subscriptions for euro30 (US$39). Skype Voicemail subscriptions are available for euro5 (US$7) for 3 months or euro15 (US$19) for 12 months.

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