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Got Skype? Call any land line within US and Canada for free

Skype, famous for launching the first popular Internet VoIP communications software, previously had a subscription or pay mode called SkypeOut. The feature enabled Skype users within the US and Canada to make calls to landlines for small fees. After paying or adding pre-paid credit, users would then be able to use Skype on their computers to make calls to anywhere within the US -- to other Skype users (for free) and to regular land lines.

Today, Skype announces a major milestone in VoIP communication: free calls to any land line in the US and Canada, free of charge. No strings attached, at all. Simply use your existing Skype software and SkypeOut login, and begin making those calls. Call lengths are unlimited and can be made at any time during the day or night. From the press release:

Yes. It is really very, very free. There’s no prepayment, no minimum use, no subscription, no monthly fee, no nothing. You just download and install Skype and then you start calling. Both the caller and the number called must be in either the US or Canada. There are no strings attached.

The only condition is that we have said free SkypeOut within the US and Canada is guaranteed to last until the end of this year — that is, until December 31, 2006. We’re not quite sure yet what we will do after that. Maybe we extend the free period, maybe not. You’ll hear more about this towards the end of the year.

This marks a major milestone not only for Skype, but for making calls within the US and Canada in all of history. Never has a company offered free calling to land lines in the US and Canada, and while the hurrah of VoIP promised to remove customers from the grasps of large telcos, Skype has truly made VoIP what it was intended to be. Although Skype is still unsure of what it will do with this free SkypeOut feature once 2007 hits, everyone is hoping that Skype will continue its breakthrough for the long haul. 

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RE: illegal (sortof) in the US, I believe
By TomZ on 5/15/2006 2:03:42 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think your assertion about this being illegal in the US is true. I'm not aware of any rule or regulation is violated. I also think that Skype, which is obviously operating in the US to make this happen, would have considered any legal challenges to its operation prior to launching like this.

RE: illegal (sortof) in the US, I believe
By ninjit on 5/15/2006 2:44:51 PM , Rating: 2
You might be right, I haven't been able to turn up anything in searching.
They may have just bowed to pressure from the FTC.
Net2phones business model got revenue through banner ads in their calling software, and I think they still do that but can't offer free PC-to-Phone calling anymore

However I agree with the person above, about this definitely not being the first, and I really love Tuan's little line that:
Never has a company offered free calling to land lines in the US and Canada

You might want to do a little more homework before you make such sweeping statements. I'm sure you just didn't know about Net2phone, but it doesn't look very professional.

By Lifted on 5/15/2006 8:21:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, I was using net2phone way back when I was still on dial-up I think. That was at least 6 years ago. Skype is FAR from being the first to offer free calls to the US and Canada. I think he pulled that one out of his @ss.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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