Skype is set to launch a new version of its VoIP phone service for international customers in 24 countries. The new service, named Skype Pro, won't charge by the minute for its SkypeOut service, which lets computers call landlines. Instead, it will charge users a €2-per-month subscription fee and €3.9 cents-per-call connection fee.
There are some benefits to the new system over the old one: specifically, free Skype voicemail (which used to cost about $20 a year) and a large discount on a SkypeIn number at which regular phones can call you. All in all, it's a pretty good deal.
In the United States, we've been spoiled with relatively cheap, all-you-can-talk VoIP plans from Vonage and Comcast Digital Voice. In fact, Skype's latest North American effort, $15-per-year unlimited service, makes it seem like international customers are being taken for a ride. Connection fees are a thing of the past. Sooner or later Skype needs to realize that.