Skype Announces Unlimited Polish Grandmother-Connect
EBay (EBAY) may yet find a way to justify the astonishing $2.6 billion it paid for Skype. This morning, the Internet phone service launched an aggressive new international calling plan. For flat fees of up to $9.95-a-month, Skype is offering unlimited calls to computers, landlines and some cellphones in 34 countries.
“For example if you live in London, for just 2.95 euros a month, you can call your grandmother in Poland, whenever you like, talk for up to six hours at a time, and not worry about how much it’s costing you,” explained Stefan Oberg, VP and GM of telecoms at Skype. “Your grandmother doesn’t need to understand the Internet. You just use your Skype subscription to make the call and she just picks up the phone.”
An interesting move, and one that comes just days after incoming eBay CEO John Donahoe said the company will consider selling Skype at the end of the year if it can’t find ways to use it to support its core business. “What we’re testing this year are the synergies,” Donahoe told the Financial Times. “If the synergies are strong, we’ll keep it in our portfolio. If not, we’ll reassess it.”
While consensus has long held that the synergies to which Donahoe refers are anything but strong, that may be changing. Last week eBay reported earnings, noting that Skype added 33 million subscribers in the first quarter of this year, boosting its total membership to 309 million. Revenue also hit $126 million, up 61% from the same quarter last year.