RealTime IT News

Skype Suspends Calling Charges

Skype users making calls to regular phones will be free in the U.S. and Canada for the next year.

SkypeOut previously cost users around 2 cents per minute to call out to regular landline and cell phones, according to the company.

Instead of spending money on an advertising campaign, Skype, which boasts 100 million worldwide users, "wanted to invest in their users," a company spokesperson said.

Making the premium calling option free for a year will "turbo charge the already rapid growth of Skype in the U.S. and Canada," the spokesperson added.

Users calling outside the U.S. and Canada elsewhere will be charged. Likewise, the company retains its fee-based SkypeIn service, which allows people not using Skype to call into Skype member phones.

Skype-to-Skype PC-based calls remain free.

Earlier this month, Skype released a beta version of its Skype 2.5 software.

One focus of the update was to make it easier to manage the SkypeIn and SkypeOut services.

Days after that announcement, AOL unveiled AIM Phoneline, bringing Internet phone calling to instant messaging.

The service, slated to begin today, offers AIM users a free phone number and voicemail.