Skype offers unlimited international calls

Luxembourg-based Skype has announced unlimited international calls to land lines in 34 countries. The eBay subsidiary says the new monthly calling subscriptions covers over a third of the world's population. This flat rate approach is a new departure for Skype.

The three new subscription packages are on a month by month basis, not tied to a long term contract. For €2.95 a month, subscribers have unlimited calls within the country they are in to land lines. For €3.95 per month, they can call fixed lines in 20 European countries. For €8.95 a month, they can call land lines in 34 countries around the world. There is a fair usage limit of 10,000 minutes - or five hours a day - per month.

Stefan Oberg, VP & GM telecoms at Skype said, "We're making it even easier for the Skype community to call their friends and family who are not yet on Skype."

Oberg continued, "For example if you live in London, for just €2.95 a month, you can call your grandmother in Poland, whenever you like, talk for up to six hours at a time, and not worry about how much it's costing you. Your grandmother doesn't need to understand the Internet. You just use your Skype subscription to make the call and she just picks up the phone. If you have friends and family spread over the world, you can reach them all for as little as €8.95 a month."

Some analysts see the move as one of desperation, as eBay struggles to claw back the US$2.6 billion (€1.63 billion) it paid for Skype in 2005.