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Is There a Future for Skype’s Free US Deal?

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Skype has been running a great deal the last few months, letting people living in the US call landlines in the country for free.

That deal is set to run through the end of the month, with no announcement about an extension. TDavid wonders what happens come January 1st. Will Skype extend the plan, seeing the value of the promotion in other revenue streams? Will they announce new service plans for US users, so they don’t lose the customers?

I’ll put money down that they do nothing. On January 1, the deal expires, and Skype does what it has done since they got bought by eBay: Keep their heads in the sand.

SkypeOut, which lets you call landlines, doesn’t work for domestic United States calling. Heavy phone users in the US typically have unlimited domestic plans, and Skype doesn’t offer one. Paying per minute is a quick way to get hosed, even at 2.1 cents. Spend an hour on the phone every day, and you pay $60 a month, more than Verizon charges, making Skype a difficult and costly choice.

I don’t have a home phone. When I got married, I cut it off, and use just cell phones and Skype. I use Skype because it is free within the US. I hate the software, and hate even more that it doesn’t work on my mobile phone. I have given Skype more money than I would without the free offer, buying SkypeIn to have a home number, and buying SkypeOut credits for international calls. I know I am not the only Skype user who will not be buying hundreds of SkypeOut minutes if they remove the free offer. Skype isn’t worth it. It isn’t that good.

I wonder if anyone is awake at the wheel at eBay/Skype. This is the most important issue for many US Skype users, and with 19 days to go, we’re all looking at Vonage’s rates. If Skype doesn’t say something soon, any gains they made with this offer will be erased before they even realize it.

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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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Is There a Future for Skype’s Free US Deal?
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