Skype, the default small business tool for long-distance and international calls, has added free video calls for up to 10 callers simultaneously.
Skype users in a group video conferencing call could also share their screens with participants for free. An accountant could Skype a client over a morning coffee to go over business reports and include the client’s business partner in a third location in the same video conversation.
While audio conferencing calls was always free, the ability to make multi-party video conference calls was previously a feature only available in premium paid plans. Users of the Skype premium plan had few extra features beside credit for calls to mobiles and landlines – only live chat customer support and removal of third-party ads.
Some who had recently paid for a 12 month subscription to a premium plan for group video conferencing were unhappy at finding out it was now available for free.
“I bought premium for the Group Video call ONLY. I might find other bells and whistles nice, but the truth is I paid the service for that. So, was I stupid that I paid?” wrote user Skaragiannis in Skype’s community forum.
Skype recently made video calling free across all platforms, including Windows desktop, Mac and Xbox One. Skype was expected to make group video calls available across more platforms at no cost.
The decision to add free video call conferencing brought the Microsoft-owned Skype in line with Google Hangouts, a video communications tool included in Google Apps for Business and Gmail.
Earlier this year, Skype users could also make video calls to business users of Office 365’s video and call conferencing platform Lync.