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Skype is Charging Users for Group Video Calling

When VOIP company Skype announced group video conferencing last year the company was very clear that it was only free for the time being. Though it didn’t elaborate on how much it planned on charging for the feature, the company made sure we all got a nice long taste of the good life.

Today the company launched a new version of Skype for Windows and the bad news is that group calling is no longer free. Now that 5.1 is out of beta, Skype has two price plans for those who want to hold a video conference call. You can either fork out $4.99 for a day pass, presumably for people who only want to hold once-off or rare group calls, or you can purchase a monthly subscription for $8.99 per month. Also included in these "Premium Packages" is live chat customer support.

Skype says that video calling accounted for approximately 41.5 percent of all Skype-to-Skype minutes in the second half of 2010 and, as an incentive to to get users to subscribe to the new group calling feature, is offering discounts to those who sign up for monthly or annual subscriptions. Those who sign up for either a three or 12 month subscription in the next month will be rewarded with a 33 percent discount and a 25 percent discount for a HD webcam.