Skype has launched Skype for SIP, a beta program that allows companies to make domestic and international VoIP calls from an office PBX rather than PC.

The move comes the week after eBay announced that it expects Skype to more than double its revenue to over USD $1 billion by 2011 – with hopes high that the new business service will be a compelling proposition.

Skype For SIP allows SIP PBX owners to make Skype calls to fixed phones and mobiles around the world, and to receive calls from Skype users directly into their PBX system.

The service will also allow businesses to be contacted by Skype’s 405 million registered users through click-to-call from their Web sites.

The calls will be received through their existing office system at no cost to the customer.

At the same time, businesses can purchase online Skype numbers available in over 20 countries to receive calls from business contacts and customers who are using traditional fixed lines or mobile phones.

Stefan Oberg, VP and general manager of Skype for Business, described the introduction of Skype for SIP as a significant move for Skype and for any communication intensive business around the world.

"It effectively combines the obvious cost savings and reach of Skype with its large user base, with the call handling functionality, statistics and integration capabilities of traditional office PBX systems, providing great economical savings and increased productivity for the modern business," he said.

The initial beta is available to a limited number of participants: SIP users, phone system administrators, developers and service partners are invited to apply.

Applicants need to be businesses, have an installed SIP based IP-PBX system, as well as a level of technical competency to configure their own SIP-enabled PBX.

The Skype for SIP beta program is open today to a limited number of participants; SIP users, phone system administrators, service partners, and developers can get in on the beta. Beta users will need to be businesses, have a SIP-based IP-PBX phone system, and in-house expertise to configure their SIP-enabled PBX.

The SIP software will be available for free, but Skype plans to charge about 2.1 cents per minute for calls to landlines and cell phones. Calls from computers to phone systems using Skype will be free.

Key Features of the Skype for SIP Beta include:

  • Receive and manage inbound calls from Skype users worldwide on SIP-enabled PBX systems; connecting the company Web site to the PBX system via click-to-call
  • Place calls with Skype to landlines and mobile phones worldwide from any connected SIP-enabled PBX; reducing costs with Skype’s low-cost global rates
  • Purchase Skype’s online numbers, to receive calls to the corporate PBX from landlines or mobile phones
  • Manage Skype calls using their existing hardware and system applications such as call routing, conferencing, phone menus and voicemail; no additional downloads or training are required

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