22/06/2006

Skype offers US users free international calls

In order to promote value added services like SkypeOut, US Skype users are being offered 60 minutes of free calls to 30 international countries.

Skype has already offered Canadian customers free calls to Canada or the United States until the end of the year.

Though Skype has a huge installed base, most customers use Skype for Skype to Skype calls/chat and don't use value add services, which is where Skype make their money. With competition hotting up (Gizmo project, Microsoft's Live Messenger, Yahoo and others) Skype need to maintain their lead and get their users to start paying for things. Ebay will soon have a SkypeMe button available to sellers allowing buyers to directly ask sellers questions.

Skype software is also being embedded into devices like VoIP phones and even mobile phones, but there may be problems as mobile operators block VoIP services as they lose revenue on voice calls.

Skype, as a peer-to-peer service, requires supernodes in the network to ensure NAT'ed users can communicate with each other. Supernoded users have all their bandwidth utilised by Skype - which isn't good for say company networks. Skype don't tell users how to diable this functionality and so many network managers are just blocking Skype altogether.

Though Skype is a useful too, for it to become a real business solution, Skype need to allow users more control of what it's doing behind the scenes.
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