Skype and Wal-Mart Partner to Bring Internet Communications to the Masses
Skype, the leading Internet communications company, has announced that it is teaming up with Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, to address the growing popularity and demand for Internet communications among U.S. consumers. Wal-Mart is offering Skype Certified hardware in the Internet and voice communications area of 1,800 of its stores throughout the country, providing more opportunity and accessibility for people looking for affordable calling options. This partnership gives shoppers immediate hands-on access to headsets, webcams and handsets designed to work with Skype, as well as the first pre-paid cards for Skype available in the U.S.
The addition of Skype Internet communications products to Wal-Mart stores comes at a time when Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) adoption among U.S. households is growing rapidly. According to the Telecommunications Industry Association, 9.9% of all landlines in the U.S. were VoIP lines in 2006, and this will rise to 34.1% by 2010. In addition, Skype is the number one 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.”
Today, Skype is enjoyed by more than 196 million registered users around the world. Users download Skype software to make free voice and video calls and send instant messages over the Internet. Skype also offers paid-for products which let users make, receive and forward calls to and from landlines and mobile phones. To enhance the Skype user experience, hardware devices and accessories are available from approximately 50 leading manufacturers. These products certified by Skype give users the additional flexibility to talk more freely and naturally when placing Skype Internet calls.
“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. “The Skype hardware and pre-paid cards are a great fit with Wal-Mart because they offer long-term money-saving solutions at the right time for many customers — parents, grandparents, college students and military families.”
Wal-Mart is the first and currently only retailer in the U.S. to offer Skype’s pre-paid cards. Shoppers can purchase a $20 pre-paid card and redeem it for Skype credit to make inexpensive international calls at rates as low as 2.1 cents per minute. Another pre-paid card is available in stores for a three-month subscription to the Skype Unlimited Calling Plan for just $8.85. This gives consumers three months of unlimited Skype calls to any landline or cell phone number in the U.S. and Canada.
Skype sets conversations free by providing new and easy ways to stay in touch over the internet. Millions of people every day make free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls and send instant messages using our software. Some pay a little per minute for long-distance and international calls to phones and mobiles and for SMS, voicemail and call forwarding, or they buy subscriptions that give unlimited calls nationwide. Skype certify and sell hundreds of hardware products from more than 50 partners and work with third-party developers to create software to extend Skype’s functionality. Skype has been downloaded more than half a billion times and over 196 million people from almost every corner of the globe have registered.
Access to a broadband Internet connection is required for Skype and all Skype Certified devices and accessories. Skype is not a replacement for your traditional telephone service and cannot be used for emergency calling.
Skype, SkypeIn, SkypeOut, Skype Me, Skype Certified, Skypecasts, associated logos and the “S” symbol are trademarks of Skype Limited.
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