Skype Modifies Fair Usage Policy

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When Skype’s Unlimited Calling Plans were modified last May, the only “Fair Usage” limitation was 10,000 minutes per month on any of the plans. Recently my attention was drawn to a modified Fair Usage policy. Primarily it would appear that the new Fair Usage policy would apply to businesses using SkypeOut for customer service and customer acquisition activities.

The new policy adds:

  • calling to a maximum of 50 numbers per day
  • maximum six (6) hours of SkypeOut calling per day
  • each subscription is to be used by one person only and not to be shared with any other user (whether by a PBX, call center, computer or any other means).

On considering these further:

  • a user can make repeated calls to a single number without impacting the “50 numbers per day” limitation
  • each employee using call center or PBX services, such as OnState’s Call Center or Virtual PBX requires a separate Skype calling plan subscription for outbound calling
  • the six hour per day limitation could build up quickly on a Skype multi-party call with multiple participants connected via SkypeOut
  • these limitations only impact Skype services where third party termination charges are involved – all Skype-to-Skype calling remains free
  • they would not appear to affect services such as Skype Trunking via a Vosky Exchange where they talk only about “call Skype users for free” and “low cost SkypeOut rates as low as 2.2 cents per minute to most landlines worldwide”

Upon exceeding any of these limits, normal SkypeOut rates and connection fees will apply for additional minutes, Of course this requires that you have Skype credits available; otherwise you may find a call cut off in the middle of a heavy conversation.

Two observations:

  • When business is generating revenue or providing support via Skype’s outbound services, one should expect some cost. Skype continues to provide competitive rates for reliable, robust business calling.
  • New Skype management is obviously reviewing all its business activities with a view to ensuring that consumer users can continue to benefit from the low cost of services available via Skype Calling Plans while those who are incurring heavy termination fees (and other costs) will support the cost of such usage levels.

Hat tip to participants in the Skype 4.x Discussion Public Chat for bringing this to my attention.

Update: UberOverLord developer Don Kennedy has published “Subscription Monitor for Skype” to track your Skype subscription usage in real time.

  • Skype’s P2P architecture supports freemium (skypejournal.com)
  • SquawkBox November 21: OnState Communications (saunderslog.com)
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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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