North American Skype users get free phone calls

— 8:04 PM on May 15, 2006

Skype has announced a new promotional offer that will allow North American users of its SkypeOut IP telephony service to make phone calls to land lines and cell phones for free. The offer is limited to phone numbers within the US and Canada, and will only last until the end of the year. SkypeOut calls normally cost 2.2 cents a minute, or around $1.30 an hour. Skype believes offering temporarily free SkypeOut calls will "rapidly accelerate" Skype adoption in North America. "Many businesses could have chosen to spend this money on traditional advertising campaigns. Skype's philosophy has always been to invest in its users first," a Skype spokeswoman told eWEEK. Of course, the move may also be a preemptive strike against AOL's "AIM Phoneline" service, which is expected to offer free inbound calls to all AOL Instant Messenger users later this month.

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