After last year's trial of free SkypeOut calling in North America, the Brussels-based VoIP provider (now a subsidiary of eBay) instituted a yearly subscription plan for U.S. and Canadian Skypers. For example, at a cost of $29.25 ($14.95 before January 31, 2007), U.S. members can make unlimited SkypeOut calls (calls to land-line and mobile PSTN phones) across North America at no extra chargefor 365 days.
A similar planTalk for Britainis in operation in the U.K.
Today, the company announced some tweaks to its overall pricing policy, and the outlines of a similar plan for European membersto be known as Skype Pro.
On a country-by-country basis, Skype Pro premium subscription packages will allow SkypeOut "domestic" calling (that is, within the country in question) without the per-minute charges that have been characteristic of the service up till now.
(To be perfectly clear, the basic Skype policy of totally free PC-to-PC calls between Skype members remains unchanged.)
Also announced todayone of the tweaks mentioned aboveis a new pricing concept for Skype: the connection fee.
Going forward, ordinary domestic SkypeOut callsas well as all international Skype callswill entail the connection fee, wherever originated.
Skype Pro calls to the domestic PSTN will also be subject to the fee, while North American Unlimited Calling PSTN calls will not.
Skype connection fees will vary per country. In the U.S., the fee will be $0.039. In much of Europe it will be €0.039 or the equivalent in local currency. Check here for a complete listing of connection fee rates, and other details.
The Skype Pro package (for which no specific pricing was mentioned in the press announcement, but which, according to the website will be €2 per month) also includes a number of other promotional 'extras,' such as discounts on SkypeIn numbers and free Skype Voicemail.
On the website linked above, you can leave your e-mail address for notification when Skype Pro is officially available.