On the eve of AOL’s rollout of AIM Phoneline, Skype is dropping fees for outgoing calls within Canada and the U.S. to traditional landline and mobile phones through 2006. No guarantee that the same will be true in 2007 but it could be enough to keep Skype users from seeking greener grass; the eBay division claims 100 million registered users. It could also help attract more users since the fee service required a credit card and the purchase of minutes.
AOL’s basic, no-fee service phoneline service offers no-cost incoming calls; the premium includes outgoing at $14.95 a month.
It’s a negative for AOL, Pali Research’s Rich Greenfield told clients in a note this afternoon. He said it’s not a “major” negative for cable ops but it highlights the need for aggressive pricing to drive penetration.
Update: Om: “There is the unsaid reality of Skype in the US: it doesn’t nearly have the penetration, usage, or mind share as it has in Europe and Asia. The ultra-low cost calling plans on Mobile phones, and more recently on the landlines make it even less attractive. By offering free calling, they are desperately trying to get something going on this side of the pond.”
Related: AOL Buddy List’s Social Network Expands With AIM Pages, Phoneline