Skip to main content

Skype catches up with Google Hangouts as group video calling goes free

Group Video Calling
Xbox One gets in on the free GVC action

Just as it promised TechRadar it would, Skype has announced that group video calling will now be completely free of charge.

The feature, which lets up to 10 people participate in video calling, is going free for Skype on Windows desktop, Mac and Xbox One starting today.

As for mobile and all other Skype platforms, they'll also be getting the feature free but not just yet - Skype says that it'll appear further down the line.

Group Video Calling has been part of a premium service since early 2011, however Google has long offered the same feature in Hangouts for no added cost.

Talk it out

So what happens for current premium users? From today, those of you who currently pay extra for group video calling will no longer be charged anything.

As for anyone with a subscription that includes GVG and other premium services, there will be a transition in subscription to a residual calling element.

"We felt that the time was right," Phillip Snalune, general manager of consumer marketing at Skype, told TechRadar. "We feel there's a healthy use case for group communications and it's something that we wanted to refresh and renew our commitment to.

"If you think about what else is free on Skype - IM, one-to-one video calling - I think there's an underlying expectation that there's a significant use case for free communications associated with the Skype platform."

Hugh Langley

Hugh Langley is the Senior Tech Reporter at Business Insider. He wrote for many magazines and websites including Business Insider, The Telegraph, IGN, Gizmodo, Entrepreneur Magazine, TechRadar, WIRED (UK), TrustedReviews, Business Insider Australia, Business Insider India, Business Insider Singapore and more.