Skype signs agreement with S'pore ISP

Users of the popular VoIP service in the island-state will be billed based on local charges, and receive local customer support.

SINGAPORE--Internet services and communications provider Pacific Internet (PacNet) has inked an agreement which will see Skype-based voice services delivered in the island-state.

The two companies will offer a co-branded version of the popular voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) tool to Singapore users, according to a media statement jointly released by both vendors.

The agreement marks Skype's first Internet services provider partnership agreement in Southeast Asia, which will cover both enterprise and home consumers. A new portal, coined "PacNet-Skype", will be launched later this year under the management of PacNet, which will provide customer support, sales and marketing, and distribution services for the Skype offering.

Through the new portal, online users including non-PacNet subscribers, will be able to make free and unlimited Skype-to-Skype voice calls worldwide. They can tap into the prepaid SkypeOut service to call any fixed or mobile phone lines across the globe, based on local call rates.

From next year, call charges will be converted to local currency and billed accordingly, revealed a PacNet spokesperson.

Kevin Lim, managing director of PacNet Singapore, said: "The opportunity to work with Skype is a delightful one as we are now the first company to offer low-cost premium voice communications with local support to the Singapore market.

"In particular, we will be promoting the SkypeOut service, which allows users to call any landline or mobile number in the world at competitive rates."

Skype's CEO and co-founder, Niklas Zennstrom, added: "This partnership continues our rapid expansion in Asia, a strong growth market. Singapore callers will be able to realize the massive cost savings and added features that Skype offers above and beyond the traditional phone, with the benefits of local billing and customer support."

A postpaid Skype service will also be offered next year, said the PacNet spokesperson, but he declined to reveal details on what the charges will be like.

He added that PacNet will also explore offering VoIP numbers to customers here.

Skype in September formed a joint venture with Chinese wireless operator TOM Online, to develop and distribute a Chinese-language version of the VoIP software.