Skype brings group video calling to users

Skype brings group video calling to users

Users will now be able to have video conferences on Skype - but for a fee. (Image: Skype)

Skype has announced that it will turn on Group Video Conferences to both consumer and business customers, allowing the entire group conversation able to see each other and show items rather than using the traditional voice group conversations.

The company, however, will make it a premium feature as part of its new Skype Premium package, which also includes live chat customer support. However, users can subscribe for a day for US$4.99 or for a monthly subscription of US$8.99. This is on top of your subscription package for calling – if you choose to have that add on to your Skype account.

Participants must need at least version 5.0 or higher for Mac and Windows. Skype is also having a special promotion that will allow people to get a 33 percent discount if they sign up for a 3-month or 12-month subscription, and 25 percent off a HD webcam or, for enterprise users, 15 percent off a headset and speakerphone bundle.

Press release is after the jump.

LAS VEGAS, Nev.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Skype has officially launched group video calling for consumers and enterprises, allowing people to do more together wherever they are. Whether you’re looking to bring your family together on a video call or better connect with work colleagues across the globe, group video calling makes it easy to bring to together groups of three or more on a single video call. Video calling accounted for approximately 41.5% of all Skype-to-Skype minutes in the second half of 2010.

Group video calling is available as part of the new Premium package from Skype which offers group video calling together with access to live chat customer support as a day pass for $4.99 (€3.49/£2.99)* or as a monthly subscription for $8.99 (€5.99/£4.99)* per month. Skype users who sign up for group video calling in the first month it’s available will receive a 33 percent discount on 3 and 12-month subscriptions. New users receive a 7-day free trial. In addition, consumers who sign up for group video calling will receive a 25 percent discount off an HD webcam.

Group video calling is also available in the new Business version of Skype, a desktop application for PCs, which gives enterprises the ability to control how Skype is used within the workplace, with the capacity to turn off or configure a variety of Skype settings. With group video calling, enterprises can easily set up real-time, face-to-face meetings and work in more collaborative and productive ways. For enterprises using Skype Manager who sign up for Group Video Calling, they will receive a 33 percent discount when signing up for a 3 or 12 month subscription. In addition, they will receive a 15 percent discount off of a headset and speakerphone bundle.

Group video calling has brought together family, friends and work colleagues like never before, such as a Spanish family who were reunited after 6 years apart, the Global Learning Exchange who brought together classrooms from Singapore and Bakersfield, CA and companies like ePromos who can better collaborate with remote co-workers and suppliers.

To start a group video call, only one member of the call needs to have activated the seven-day free trial or to have signed up for a day pass or monthly subscription using Skype for Windows 5.1. For all participants to receive video, they need to be on at least the 5.0 version of Mac and windows. Skype video calls between two parties will continue to be offered as a free product.

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