Skype has tossed down the gauntlet. In an announcement today, the company announced that SkypeOut - the ability to call any landline or mobile number - is now available free through the end of the year to all U.S. and Canadian customers. From the press release I just received:
Skype, the global Internet communications company, today announced that all US and Canadian-based Skype customers can now make free SkypeOut calls to traditional landline and mobile phones in the US and Canada. Previously, Skype users in both countries were required to pay for Skype calls from their PCs to traditional telephones. Free SkypeOut calls to the US or Canada will be available to US and Canadian-based Skype users until the end of the year.
Well... that should cause a bit of gastric distress for Vonage and a few other VoIP and telco outfits I can think of.
N.B. Skype is careful to always point out that their service cannot make emergency calls and should not be considered a replacement for a regular phone. You do the math on where you should make all of your long distance calls though.