TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Skype Adds New Services for Internet Phoning

Skype Adds New Services for Internet Phoning

Lisa Minter (
15 Apr 2005 12:40:03 -0700

Skype, the fast-growing Internet telephony company, launched on Friday
a voice mail and phone access service in eight countries including the
United States, stepping up competitive pressure on incumbent

Skype, whose software allows people to make free phone calls over the
Internet, said users could now get up to three phone numbers which
will allow them to be reached by phone from any ordinary handset,
fixed or mobile.

Previously Skype users could only be reached from a computer connected
to the Internet. "This makes Skype much more ubiquitous," Skype Chief
Executive and co-founder Niklas Zennstrom told Reuters.

Skype, which launched its Internet software only 20 months ago and
never advertised it once, counts 34 million registered users -- a
little more than the population of Canada.

The company's growth is driven largely by the global migration of
consumers toward Internet-routed communications which cost
significantly less than cable, satellite and radio telephony.
Internet-based telephony was, until recently, mainly used by

Skype said its Internet telephony software passed the mark of 100
million downloads on Friday.

The company said its new voice mail and call-in service, called
SkypeIn, would cost 10 euros ($13) for three months or 30 euros ($39)
for 12 months. Voice mail only costs 5 euros ($7) for three months and
15 euros ($19) for a year.

"The new services represent an important new source of revenue for the
company," Zennstrom said.

The Luxembourg-based business said its existing pre-pay service which
enables users to make calls from their computer to ordinary phones at
low prices around the world, already counted 1.2 million registered

The company, however, declined to say how much revenue the pre-pay
service, called SkpeOut, had generated since it was launched in August

Zennstrom said he expected about half those subscribing to SkypeOut
would want to get the new SkypeIn service.

Skype said subscribers to SkypeIn would be able to get a personal
phone number in the United States, Hong Kong, Britain, France, Sweden,
Norway, Finland or Denmark.

However, in some countries such as France, an address will
be needed to obtain a phone number.

"Anyone may call the user at their SkypeIn number wherever the user
travels, providing huge cost savings compared to mobile roaming rates
and flexibility for Skype users to receive calls at home, at the
office, hotel or anywhere," the Luxemburg-based company said in a

Skype said it was seeking to roll out its new SkypeIn service in other
countries soon. The company announced in February an agreement with
Motorola to preload Skype software on Motorola handsets, boosting its
access to the wireless market.

Zennstrom said he was expecting the first Skype pre-loaded handsets --
designed by i-Mate, a small Dubai based company, to come to market as
early as this month but he did not say in what countries.

Zennstrom co-founded Kazaa, the computer peer-to-peer file-sharing
software that enabled millions to download music from the Internet for
free and caused much pain to record companies.

Skype now threatens to do the same to incumbent telecom operators.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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