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On Wednesday, Skype announced that, in October, they would be introducing a new payment and billing method for Skype users.
Skype will be using operator billing, or mobile payment, to allow customers to pay for their Skype use through their mobile devices. Users will now be able to buy Skype credits with a one-click service.
Skype’s operator billing is made possible by their choice to work with MACH, a direct operator billing group.
With this new development, Skype users will be able to purchase Skype calling credits directly through in-browser purchasing. Previously, a user would buy Skype credit through Paypal, a credit card, a prepaid Skype credit card, or with Skrill.
Skype credit operator billing will be effectively the same, but it is much easier for people to spend money when all they need to do is press a button.
After purchasing Skype credits, the cost of the credits can be added directly to a customer’s prepaid Skype plan, or to a mobile phone bill.
There is also talk of a mobile app for buying Skype credits. A Skype app would allow users to buy credits easily and quickly on a mobile phone, with the fee charged to their mobile provider bill.
There hasn’t been any mention of when we might expect this app, but it definitely will not be released in October with the other upgrades.
Skype service continues to be free between Skype users. Skype credit is used for more advanced services, like Skype WiFi, call forwarding, caller ID, and international calls to landlines and cellphones.
As it is, Skype offers competitive rates for calling, and a few credits will already buy a lot of calling time. Their pay-as-you-go plan offers calling for $0.023/minute, and with their premium plan, you can have unlimited calling to any one country of your choice. As it is, Skype carries 1 in 3 of all international calls that are made.
Some people have begun to notice that Skype’s developments have some weird implications.One blogger commented, “This will essentially make mobile telcos [telephone companies] resellers for what, to now, they have regarded as an arch-enemy”.
I wonder how this arrangement will work out when Skype depends on mobile telephones to play host for their competing service. With the option to add your Skype bill to your phone bill, and the ability to pay through a mobile app, it may make telephone service providers more comfortable with their users using Skype -- as long as they get a cut.