Today at the Consumer Electronics Show, Skype has officially launched group video calling for consumers and enterprises. Group video calling is available as part of the new Premium package which offers group video calling together with access to live chat customer support as a day pass for $4.99 (€3.49/£2.99) or as a monthly subscription for $8.99 (€5.99/£4.99) per month.

Skype users who sign up for group video calling in the first month it’s available will receive a 33 percent discount on 3 and 12-month subscriptions. New users receive a 7-day free trial. In addition, consumers who sign up for group video calling will receive a 25 percent discount off an HD webcam.

Group video calling is also available in the new Business version of Skype, a desktop application for PCs, which gives enterprises the ability to control how Skype is used within the workplace, with the capacity to turn off or configure a variety of Skype settings. According to Skype, with group video calling, enterprises "can easily set up real-time, face-to-face meetings and work in more collaborative and productive ways." For enterprises using Skype Manager who sign up for Group Video Calling, they will receive a 33 percent discount when signing up for a 3 or 12 month subscription. In addition, they will receive a 15 percent discount off of a headset and speakerphone bundle.

To start a group video call, only one member of the call needs to have activated the seven-day free trial or to have signed up for a day pass or monthly subscription using Skype for Windows 5.1. For all participants to receive video, they need to be on at least the 5.0 version of Mac and windows.

According to Skype, video calling accounted for approximately 41.5% of all Skype-to-Skype minutes in the second half of 2010.

Skype also said that video calls between two parties will continue to be offered as a free product.

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