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Skype announced Jan. 18 that it has a new global pricing plan that will offer users a chance to save money when they call land lines and mobile phones over the Internet.

The new pricing arrangement from Skype, the London-based global Internet communications company, will be carried out worldwide and will include Skype Pro, a premium subscription package that removes the per-minute charges for calls to land lines and the connection fee, when launched in Europe and Asia.

“The new pricing strategy is all about giving people and businesses incredibly simple, convenient and cost-effective ways to stay in touch with friends, families and business contacts around the world,” Stefan Orberg, general manager of Skype Telecoms, told eWEEK.

In December 2006, Skype introduced its Unlimited Calling plan in North America, a paid annual subscription service that enables subscribers to make 12 months of unlimited SkypeOut, which are calls from Skype to traditional land line or mobile phones, which will be available at a price of $29.95 per year in the United States and $35 per year in Canada starting Jan. 31.

Subscribers who sign up for the new plan before Jan. 31 will receive a 50 percent discount with an introductory rate of $14.95 per user in the United States or $17.50 per year in Canada, while the connection fee will be priced at 39 cents in the United States and 59 cents in Canada.

When the new pricing plan from Skype is launched in Europe and Asia, the plan will have reduced global dialing rates at .017 Euro per minute with a connection fee of .039 Euro, which signifies a reduction of up to 65 percent.

Under the new pricing plan, Orberg said that Skype-to-Skype calls will remain free while business users—30 percent of Skype’s users are utilizing Skype for work-related purposes—will be subject to the same pricing structure as regular consumers.

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“The new pricing structure complements the foundation of Skype’s success in letting anyone in the world talk for free, from one Skype software account to another,” he said.

Globally, the new pricing plan will include free Skype Voicemail, a reduced cost of a SkypeIn number, which is a number that can be called from a normal phone anywhere in the world, and also discounts on Skype Certified Hardware.

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