Peer-to-peer Internet telephony company Skype has launched SkypeOut, the gateway that links its PC software to the international phone system. Users who download release version 1.0 of the Windows software can prepay calls with credit cards. It will cost them two euro cents a minute (1.3 pence) to landlines within Europe, the US and Australia/NZ, with other areas and mobiles costing more. Credit expires after 180 days.
Skype users cannot at present receive calls from phones; however, calls between Skype users remain free. Other features in the Skype 1.0 Windows software include conference calling, call and message tracking, plus file send and receive.
During testing of the release software, however, ZDNet UK discovered an intermittent bug that instantly resets the PC at the end of a call -- potentially losing data in other applications that are open at the time.
A Skype spokesperson said: "We have in very, very rare cases seen instances of this and we are working on a solution." Versions of Skype for Pocket PC and Linux are available with SkypeOut, but are still pre-release beta versions with some known bugs.
The company recently announced deals with four telcos -- phone carriers Colt Telecom Group, iBasis, Level 3 Communications and Teleglobe -- to connect its service to the global phone system. Currently, the service reports some 470,000 users online.