Skype users are being freed up thanks to the Australian launch of SkypeIn which allows users to receive calls on their computer from ordinary phones.
For a 12-month subscription fee of approximately $50 ($EUR30), customers will receive an Australian phone number to allow incoming calls from mobile and fixed-lines to be answered by the Skype user. Subscriptions come with free Skype voicemail that can record up to 10 minutes of dialogue.
There is also a 3-month subscription plan for $16 ($EUR10).
"If you have an Australian SkypeIn number, but you're travelling overseas, your friends, family and colleagues can just dial your SkypeIn number to talk to you and they would only be paying for the cost of a call to your Australian phone number so you both avoid costly roaming charges," said Geoffrey Prentice, Skype vice president for strategic partners and corporate development, in an email interview.
Australia joins USA, UK, Brazil, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland as the 14th country in the world to make this service available.
"Australia is one of the largest markets in the world for Skype by subscriber numbers," Prentice said. "Recent research found that 81 per cent of Australian Skype users like the idea of SkypeIn providing a low cost and convenient way to stay in contact with family and friends anytime, anywhere so these results suggest that local users will be attracted to SkypeIn."
Skype also sells the premium SkypeOut service which allows users to call from their computers to landline and mobile telephones anywhere in the world.
Customers can review and purchase available numbers from http://www.skype.com.