Skype Pro Replaces Skype Unlimited North America Plan

Anyway you look at it, results in more features for the dollar.

If you’ve been looking to subscribe to Skype’s Unlimited North America plan over the past few days, look no more. To bring more consistency to Skype’s calling plans worldwide, Skype has discontinued this plan and now offers Skype Pro to North Americans to provide:

  • Free calling for any calls initiated and terminated within United States and Canada (with no connection fee)
  • When traveling outside North America, free calls to any landline within the country you are calling from; however, you will pay a connection fee. For instance, a visitor to London will be able to make calls from Skype to any landline within the U.K.1 for only the cost of the connection fee.
  • Call transfer to SkypeOut or from SkypeIn
  • Voicemail
  • Skype To Go
  • A 60% reduction in the cost of a SkypeIn number.

While pricing for SkypePro, at $3.00 per month, remains virtually unchanged, for North American Skype users, SkypePro now adds all the free calling features described above to the previous version of Skype Pro for North America. In effect it amounts to either

  • a saving of US$30/C$35 per year for those who had the previous version of SkypePro for North America, or
  • the addition of free SkypeOut/SkypeIn Call Transfer, Voice Mail, Skype ToGo and reduced SkypeIn number costs for those who were on the Skype Unlimited North America plan

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Update: Found in the fine print at the bottom of the SkypePro web page: SkypePro does have a Fair Usage policy for SkypePro:

Skype Pro is intended for your personal use only. Skype Pro users do not pay per minute charges for national calls. Skype reserves the right to impose fair usage limits on the maximum number of minutes provided free of charge per user per month (for example 3,000 minutes per month). Once these limits are exceeded the account may be terminated and we may implement normal SkypeOut charges for any additional minutes used. Skype Pro is for your own personal use and we remind you that reselling communications is not authorized.

We would each have to individually look at our own Skype history to determine how many SkypeOut minutes are being used per month and the impact on individual usage2. Bottom line: you get an average of 100 minutes per day @ $0.001 per minute and then go to SkypeOut rates. Certainly provides one definition of the difference between business use and personal use. Bottom line: Skype does not want to be subsidizing revenue generating businesses. Also makes a good case for:

  • getting all your friends, acquaintances and business associates onto Skype as a voice communications option
  • acquiring dual mode Skype PC-Free phones such as the Philips 841 which allows use to continue to use your PSTN line for local calls and Skype or SkypeOut for "long distance" calls.

In a post later today I will talk about one new offering that makes for a better Skype user experience at the user end of the call. (No, I know nothing about any changes in tech support programs and policies for all those who want to jump on that issue.)

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All payments are now made monthly via a deduction from your Skype Credits. I have to assume that, for Unlimited North America plan subscribers, they will be offered the opportunity to transition to SkypePro when their current Unlimited North America plan expires at some time in 2008. I have no indication as to whether they have thought through this aspect. Update: Current Skype Unlimited North America subscribers are not subject to the Fair Usage policy described above. However, when their subscriptions expire, they will have to take out a Skype Pro subscription.

1 Since outside North America the caller – not the mobile phone subscriber — always pays, at considerable expense for calls to a mobile number, SkypePro cannot cover call to any mobile number outside North America.

2 As of this writing (Dec. 12, 2007) it appears that Skype has lost the connection to an individual’s account SkypeOut and SMS history; I am assured at the time of writing Skype is working on restoring access to your detailed SkypeOut and SMS history files.

Note to Skype webmaster: try to navigate through the Skype website to find these plans. Hiring a UI/Website navigation specialist would be in order. The information is there if you are willing to persist in looking for it. But it’s not trivial to find — at least if skype.com detects you are coming from a Canadian IP address.

Tags: Skype, SkypePro, Skype Unlimited North America Plan, Skype Call Transfer, Skype Voicemail, SkypeIn, Skype To Go, Skype Credits

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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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