Skype skips NZ in plans for new local calling deals

New Zealand has been left out of plans by internet call provider Skype to offer local calling packages in 24 countries using its free software-based service.

Australia, which is a key market for Skype, will get the new domestic service, which will charge subscribers a flat monthly fee and a one-off "flag-fall" charge when calls to landlines and mobile phones are connected.

Skype Pro subscribers will still be able to make free calls to other Skype users and will not need to install any more equipment - an internet connection and computer, the Skype software and a microphone or Skype-compatible phone are all that is required.

The timing of Skype Pro's launch and its pricing has yet to be confirmed, but Skype executives have confirmed that the company will seek to charge less than ?5 ($9.50) a month for the service and around (?0.039) per call.

That would allow heavy callers to save on calls to landlines and mobiles by avoiding per-minute charges.

The Skype Pro service is mainly being extended to European nations, however Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Australia have been thrown into the mix.

One possible reason for New Zealand's exclusion is the presence here of free local calling. Telephone users in many other countries pay a per-minute rate for making local calls.
With no staff on the ground to ensure quality of service in many of the countries in which it operates, it is unclear what customer service or quality levels Skype Pro subscribers can expect.
Skype's spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment.

While New Zealand Skype users can currently buy SkypeOut dollars to make calls to landlines and mobiles, the service faces stiff competition from VoIP services offered by local internet providers.

Slingshot's iTalk service offers internet telephony that allows free calling between broadband subscribers and calls to landlines nationally and in many other countries at 5c per minute. A monthly subscription of $10 is also charged.

Xnet's pricing for its VFX internet telephony service is similar. However, Skype's popularity as a free calling service and the one-off call charges may make it popular in the countries it is offered in.

Skype Pro subscribers will also get a free voicemail service and a discount on buying a SkypeIn number, which allows users to receive calls from regular phones wherever they have access to an internet connection.

Skype last month launched a calling service in the US and Canada that allows unlimited calls within North America for a flat fee of US$30 a year. Skype options

For Kiwis: Free calling from computer to computer using a broadband connection, Skype software and a microphone or headset.

Free calling using a wireless Skype phone from the likes of Philips, Vtech or Linksys, which connects to your computer and can receive regular phone calls as well as Skype calls.
Toll calls to fixed line and mobile numbers locally and internationally using SkypeOut dollars purchased with a credit card. Call forwarding and voicemail are possible with SkypeIn numbers, but these are not currently offered in New Zealand.


From Frank
You can't realy blame Skype for by passing NZ.They are in for the money. In NZ you can't make money out of local calls! It's free. That is a big hunk out of the income. I have been using Skype for calls to Holland and Greece it save many dollars over the Xmas.I tried it to Nelson and I find a lot more Echothen in overseas calls.
From Hans
A fierce competitor of Skype is VoipBuster which offers a much better and cheaper service then Skype . In addition it has a Direct Calling facility by which the normal landline phone set is used . It offers free call to 40 different countries which includes New Zealand .There is a charge of 5 Eurocents per call , unlimited talking time . The other party does not need a computer to be connected to the caller. In addition if the call is placed from your computer there is neither a connection nor time charge . check it out at www.voipbuster.com

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