Skype’s Premium Plans

I had a chance to talk earlier today with Don Albert, Skype’s North American general manager, about the launch of the $30-a-year new all-you-can eat SkypeOut plan for North America. Albert said the move was driven by the fact North American consumers are more comfortable with a flat rate as opposed to the pay-as-you-go plans that Skype has offered in the past (under a different management team). “We got a lot of feedback from the community and potential customers,” he said. “They told us they would like the option of monthly payments so they could budget their costs each month.” Albert said Skype’s premium service portfolio will continue to be expanded with an array packages and features. “We think there is a lot of opportunity for Skype to grow its telecommunications revenue even as we are incubating revenue streams that are more e-commerce focused that need some time to grow,” he said.
While denying the suggestion, the new SkypeOut plan is disruptive, he said Skype is hoping it will cause long-distance users to take another look at their LD plans and whether they can swap some of the LD activity to Skype. One issue Albert kind of danced around was e911, which Skype does not offer. He said Skype would love to offer SkypeIn in Canada but its plans to move forward have to get over the e911 hurdle.
Update: Henry Gomez has been named president of Skype following the return of Alex Kazim to eBay. Om Malik has some thoughts, including the suggestion that Niklas Zennstrom has become the king of Skype again.

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