Following its successful promotion through the end of this month that allows for free phone calls to the US and Canada, Skype is now offering an unlimited calling plan that will allow users to make calls to both regions for a period of 12 months for under $30 USD.
The new plan is the first time that the company is offering an unlimited service package, and is aimed at luring more of its 136 million plus global users to sign up for premium services.
Customers in the US and Canada will be eligible to sign up for the service. Those who sign up before January 1, 2007 will receive a special introductory rate of $14.95 USD, plus 100 minutes of credit for international calls and $50 in discount coupons for Skype-certified products.
Skype's pay-as-you-go plans will remain, where calls to US and Canadian numbers are charged at 2.1 cents per minute. However, Skype says it wants to give its customers a choice between the two plans.
"The new Skype Unlimited Calling Plan is an affordable option that will save consumers and small businesses hundreds of dollars compared to high rates charged by traditional phone companies," Skype North American vice president and general manager Don Albert said.
VoIP is becoming a more popular way to make telephone calls, and a recent study showed that one out of every five telecommunications customers in the US are using some type of VoIP service in their homes. Another 13 percent expect to use the technology within the next year.
Among those already using VoIP, Skype leads with 29 percent of those consumers, the study found.