Skype Available at Wal-Mart
Starting today, Wal-Mart is offering Skype Certified hardware in the Internet and voice communications area of 1,800 of its stores throughout the country, providing more opportunity and accessibility for people looking for affordable calling options. This partnership gives shoppers immediate hands-on access to headsets, webcams and handsets designed to work with Skype, as well as the first pre-paid cards for Skype available in the United States.
The addition of Skype Internet communications products to Wal-Mart stores comes at a time when Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) adoption among U.S. households is growing rapidly. According to the Telecommunications Industry Association, 9.9 percent of all landlines in the U.S. were VoIP lines in 2006, and this will rise to 34.1 percent by 2010. In addition, Skype is the number one software-based VoIP application in the U.S. by market share, according to a March 2007 report by In-Stat.
Today, Skype has more than 196 million registered users around the world. Users download Skype software to make free voice and video calls and send instant messages over the Internet. Skype also offers paid-for products which let users make, receive and forward calls to and from landlines and mobile phones.
"We have taken a sharp focus to launch the products and brands that consumers are moving toward at the most affordable prices," said Kevin O'Connor, vice president and general merchandise manager, Wal-Mart Electronics. "The Skype hardware and pre-paid cards are a great fit with Wal-Mart because they offer long-term money-saving solutions at the right time for many customers—parents, grandparents, college students and military families."