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Skype moves to country-specific subscriptions

Users of the popular VoIP service will be able to buy subscriptions based on the countries they call the most
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Skype is changing its subscription model to offer country-specific call packages for the first time and to add calls to mobile phones as a choice in all of its bundles.

The new subscription plans will allow customers to nominate a country they call the most and will give customers savings of up to 60 percent compared with Skype's standard pay-as-you-go rates, the internet telephony (VoIP) firm said in an announcement on Wednesday. The plans, which begin at 69p per month and carry call rates starting at effectively a penny a minute, will be available for purchase from 18:00pm on Thursday.

Previously, calls to mobile phones in most countries — with the exception of the US, China and a few more — could only be made on a per-minute, pay-as-you-go basis. From Thursday evening, British customers signing up for country-specific subscriptions will be able to choose whether they want their bundle to include calls to mobiles, landlines or both.

This will bring bundled Skype-to-mobile calls to European countries for the first time, for example.

"Skype's new monthly subscriptions lower the cost of international calling and make it simple to choose the plan that best meets your needs," Skype consumer business chief Neil Stevens said in a statement. "People around the world can now have the simplicity and flexibility to call almost any phone in the world for less."

Subscriptions are available on a one-month, three-month or 12-month basis, with call allowances ranging from 60 minutes to unlimited.

According to Skype, the company will continue to allow pay-as-you-go calls to mobile phones and landlines globally. The firm's unlimited world monthly subscriptions will also be retained.

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