Wal-Mart To Offer Skype Hardware
Retail giant Wal-Mart has teamed with Skype and will start selling Skype Certified hardware in their 1,800 locations throughout the U.S. In addition consumers will have access to headsets, webcams and handsets that are compatible with Skype along with pre-paid cards.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) adoption among U.S. households is growing quickly. According to the Telecommunications Industry Association, 9.9 percent of all landlines in the U.S. were VoIP lines in 2006 and will increase to 34.1 percent by 2010. Skype is the leader in software-based VoIP application in the U.S. by market share, according to a March 2007 report by In-Stat.
"We applaud Wal-Mart for recognizing the popularity of Skype and making it more accessible to Wal-Mart shoppers. This relationship with Wal-Mart will increase exposure for Skype and our hardware partners in a single dedicated Internet communications section," said Don Albert, vice president and general manager of Skype North America.
"Our research suggests that when users add a Skype Certified accessory like a headset, handset or webcam, it greatly enhances their experience and they use Skype more to connect with family, friends and business colleagues."
Wal-Mart is the only U.S. retailer offering Skype’s pre-paid cards. Consumers can buy a $20 pre-paid card and use it for Skype credit to make international calls. Another pre-paid card is available for a three-month subscription to the Skype Unlimited Calling Plan for $8.85.
Shoppers will be able to purchase Skype certified headsets for under $15, webcams under $25 and handsets under $30 from brands such as Plantronics, Phillips and Logitech.
"We have taken a sharp focus to launch the products and brands that consumers are moving toward at the most affordable prices," said Kevin O’Connor, vice president and general merchandise manager, Wal-Mart Electronics.