Skype quietly introduces connection fees

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Chicago (IL) - If you are using Skype for PC-to-landline calls, you soon could find new and additional charges on your account: The company announced that it will be adding a connection fees to every "SkypeOut" call - in exchange for dropping per-minute charges on a new "SkypePro" package.

The change it usage fees is part of a new strategy to offer "a simple, convenient and cost-effective way for consumers worldwide to call landlines and mobiles over the Internet," Skype said in an announcement posted on Thursday. Initially focused on Europe, Skype decided to apply new pricing models to SkypeOut accounts worldwide during the 2007 calendar year.

In additional to the 2.1 cent per minute fee for national PC-to-landline calls, Skype will be charging a 4.5 cent connection fee per call. Users will be able to subscribe to a new " SkypePro" plan to avoid the per-minute-fees for a $2/month flat fee, but will not avoid the new connection fee. Skype will not charge connection fees for users subscribing to the recently introduced "unlimited calling" plan ($30 annual flat fee); however, the fee will still apply for international calls, which are not covered by this package.

As a part of Skype's premium package, Skype said that it is cutting the global dialing rate to a number of countries. The first phase of the SkypeOut pricing structure, which went into effect yesterday, includes a reduction in global dialing rates to 0.017 € per minute for the Czech Republic, Guam, Hungary, Israel, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Puerto Rico and the United States. Skype claims that this move reduces global calls, in some cases, by up to 65%.