VOIP services

Skype's Schtick

With great fanfare, Skype Ltd. launched an Unlimited Calling upgrade for SkypeOut, the company's cheap Internet calling service to traditional landline or mobile phones.

For only $29.95 a year, the company promotes its Unlimited Calling option as offering "unlimited calls to any phone in the US and Canada."

Well, that's only if you are calling from within the US and Canada. If you take Skype with you when traveling internationally, you can't phone home with your Unlimited subscription. I found this out the hard way on a recent trip, and contacted Skype support though the service's Website for an explanation.

Impressively, the VOIP provider replied in a matter of minutes via email:

Thank you for contacting Skype Support!

Email follow-ups to all Skype Paid Service and Billing-related queries will be sent usually within the next 72 hours. While it may sometimes take longer than 72 hours to hear from us, you can be assured that we are working to answer you as soon as we can.

Showing its commitment to service, Skype handily beat its response time, emailing back in a mere 42 hours. Their explanation:

Skype uses standard internet practices to determine your location and whether you call is eligible for unlimited calling within the US and Canada. We look at your IP address which is generated by your internet service provider to ensure your location is within the US or Canada.

According to our data your IP address is not within the US or Canada and therefore your SkypeOut calls are not covered by the Unlimited Calling Plan.

So much for VOIP transcending legacy geographic limitations. Maybe Skype has hired a team of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) execs to reshape its calling plans?

— Michael Harris, Chief Analyst, Cable Digital News

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