I recently wrote about how I thought Skype should be sold to Google and in response I received a very well-worded response from Skype PR representative Chaim Haas. Here is an excerpt:
[On] yesterday’s eBay Q1 earnings call, where it was announced that Skype earned $126 million in revenue (it’s 5th straight profitable quarter) and added another 33 million new registered users in the quarter (there are now 309 million registered Skype users around the world). Keep in mind that, after 4.5 years in business, Skype’s entire revenue for 2007 puts it just about where Google was at the same stage of its growth.
In addition, Skype’s new CEO is on the job for just over 3 weeks (he started on March 24th), so his vision for the company has not yet been shared publicly.
The point was basically, my comments may be premature. It is very tough to argue with logic like the above so I want to go on record saying I was likely too harsh on Skype and we should give the CEO more time.
Having said that, this past week I did get a chance to speak with Don Albert, VP and GM of Skype North America about a number of new initiatives at the company. In the conversation, I learned a great deal about the company’s new initiatives.
In fact, Skype is now offering flat-rate international calling… This announcement marks the first time Skype has offered a single, monthly flat rate subscription for unlimited international calling to 34 countries worldwide.
In case you are wondering – like many other service providers – the word unlimited has a definition as it equates to fair use. According to the company, all calls are subject to Skype’s fair usage policy which is set at 10,000 minutes per month (which equates to more than 5 hours of calling per day). Calls to premium, non-geographic and other special numbers are excluded.
In addition, there is a new calling subscription for calls to Mexico is now available, including unlimited calls to landline and cell phones in the U.S. and Canada, and to landlines in Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey.
The three subscriptions now available to consumers in the U.S. and Canada include the following:
- Unlimited U.S. & Canada: Unlimited calls to landline and cell phones in the U.S. and Canada. ($2.95 per month)
- Unlimited Mexico: Unlimited calls to landline and cell phones in the U.S. and Canada, and to landlines in Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey; up to 80% off normal SkypeOut rates to landlines in the rest of Mexico and up to 40% off normal SkypeOut rates to all Mexico cell phones. ($5.95 per month)
- Unlimited World: Unlimited calls to landline and cell phones in 34 countries including the U.S. and Canada, as well as Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey; up to 80% off normal SkypeOut rates to the rest of Mexico landlines and up to 40% off normal SkypeOut rates to all Mexico cell phones. ($9.95 per month)
Part of our discussion was announcements about what Skype customers are up to. For example, the company’s users logged 14.2 billion Skype-to-Skype minutes in Q1 2008 and in Q1 2008, SkypeOut minutes reached an all-time high of 1.7 billion.
An added bonus for each plan is that each subscription also includes a Skype To Go number, which lets users make international calls at local rates from a cell phone or landline phone. A user dials an assigned access number and the call is connected by Skype to overseas numbers. Calls are charged at standard Skype calling rates.
Part of our conversation also centered on how successful the company’s video service has become. In fact Skype sent me this graph so you could see how the percentage of video users is growing. In fact 28% of Skype to Skype calls are of the video variety. The graph below details the quarter over quarter growth in fact.
It seems in fact that Oprah Winfrey is responsible for part of this growth as she has started using the service on her daily talk show and we all know that everyone seems to want to do what Oprah does.
Oh and I almost forgot… From now until June 1st, 2008 Skype will offer a 33% off discount on 3-month and 12-month subscriptions.To purchase one these subscriptions, simply go to Skype’s subscription page for more details.