BT Group Plc, the former UK telecoms incumbent, has announced its own plans to take on Skype Technologies SA, with the news that it plans to undercut the VoIP pioneer with its revamped VoIP product.
It was back in late September that BT first fired a warning shot across the bows of the new generation of VoIP providers, when it slashed its rates for VoIP calls to international destinations.
The carrier has long recognised the threat posed by Skype, as well as other players such as Vonage, AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo.
In actual fact, BT has had a VoIP offering (BT Communicator) for a while now, but it hasn’t really made much of an impact compared to the huge growth of players such as Skype. BT Communicator only has approximately 50,000 users, compared to 68 million for Skype.
Now the UK carrier plans to launch its revamped VoIP offering in February, which will feature BT’s new high definition sound quality. It will also be offering free calls throughout the festive holiday to any landline in 30 different countries. While Skype calls are free from PC to PC, it charges for international SkypeOut calls (calls from a PC to a traditional phone).
Last week, Yahoo Inc disclosed that it would undercut Skype for calls for its PC-to-phone services.
BT has also halved the price of its Broadband Talk package that allows customers to use a normal phone, rather than the PC, to 2 pounds ($3.51) per month for evening and weekend calls, or 7 pounds ($12.28) a month for anytime calls.
Last week BT signed its first content deals with a number of media providers for its upcoming IPTV service.