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SkypeOut Now Free

5/16/2006 02:29:00 PM Eastern

San Jose, Calif. — Skype, the PC-based VoIP service owned by eBay, announced that it has stopped charging for its SkypeOut calling feature.

SkypeOut lets Skype users place calls from a PC to landline and mobile phones. The service had cost $0.02 a minute for U.S. and Canadian calls; those calls will now be free.

Skype will still charge for SkypeIn service. That feature gives Skype users a telephone number accessible to people calling in from landlines and mobiles.

The Skype pricing move follows a flurry of other VoIP announcements, as services ramp up their promotions and positioning in an increasingly competitive market.

Verizon recently dropped the price of its VoiceWing VoIP product from $29.95 for an all-you-can-dial plan to $24.99 — the same price as Vonage’s package. Like AT&T’s CallVantage product, VoiceWing works with any high speed Internet connection and is not exclusive to Verizon DSL customers. The service is currently sold directly by Verizon, but a company spokesperson said that Verizon was evaluating a move to retail.

On the PC front, Yahoo! recently announced a partnership with AT&T to offer a co-branded Yahoo! Messanger with Voice service to AT&T/Yahoo! High-speed Internet subscribers.

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