Microsoft adds new perks to Skype Premium accounts

Skype has evolved. Microsoft recently announced that group video calling would be available for everyone to use for free. Previously, you were required to have a Premium account. But what about those who were (and still are) subscribed and paying for the luxury? Skype has you covered with a small thank you upgrade package. Put short, you'll be able to call to countries around the world at no extra cost.

The company will be providing premium subscribers with unlimited calls to phones in over 60 countries (mobile numbers in 8 - see the Skype list for more details), without bumping your fee. As well as the new call allowance, Skype premium subscribers will also be able to have up to 10 people in a group video call, receive live chat support when required and the usual ad-free experience.

How does one upgrade their premium account? One does not. Skype will change everything across for you. Be on the look out for an email from the communications provider. Thanks, rdubmu, for the tip!

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Noice!
  • Indubitably!
  • Lol
  • Fix the Skype of WP..
  • +521 PREACH!
  • Should be integrated and easy like facetime for iOS
  • Exactly when Skype being a Microsoft product is not WP exclusive then it should be better on WP than on ios and android.
  • Out of curiosity, why do people think Skype on WP is not good? I go to a contact select Skype and it launches the app in the context of the contact and I can call, video chat or message. What more is needed? Skype calls come through as I expect as well. Looks like any other call and just has the option to answer with video.
  • It takes a lot of time to open,crashes all the time,don't get notifications properly..I have missed so many calls because of that..You have to literally open the app to find what you have missed..
  • One feature is WP exclusive is even you close Skype you get calls while in android if you close it and call hits its a missed call.... For that you to keep Skype running in background... But not in WP
  • File Transfer is missing! Or contact Shared, correct Messages, group notification etc. And a lot more speed would ne nice
  • Missing file transfer is a sin in this era !
  • This is correct and I believe we should be seeing it very soon...
  • Exactly..
  • Yeah, works with wp8.1 it is more integrated and depending on the contact and call you can switch between voice and video call..right from WP main call interface.
  • I'm with you... I don't have an issue with Skype on my 1020. And just looking at the parity between platforms, all I can say is Skype was well ahead on the other platforms well before MFST got hold of it. Yes they could speed up the integration on WP, but I have a feeling they are aware of this deficiency but are concentrating on the bigger picture (getting WP8.1 complete and building upon that to incorporate better Skype integration moving forward in this and the next update, which isn't that far away). For those that have had problems with Skype, try uninstalling and reinstalling if you haven't already done so (do a soft reset after the uninstall too for good measure). If there's still a problem try to reflash your handset using the retail updater software. Just a couple of thoughts while I sit here unable to sleep :-)
  • Skype is a different team of people that are not directly part of the WP 8.1 dev team, so development on Skype should take a hit when they are focusing on WP 8.1. I have many of the problems listed by others and it's a shame Microsoft is not devoting more resources to WP on Skype.
  • Thanks for the replies.  Seems like a mix of sentiments.  I've not had any crashing...but I'm certainly not a hardcore user of Skype.  But maybe what tropolite suggested would help...some sort of uninstall, soft reset and reinstall would help - but I'm guessing people have probably tried that. File transfers would be good...but that's been lacking in WP in general (and file management).  With WP8.1 this should be changing.  Not sure we can blame Skype for that.  But if it is something you expect to be there, I get it.  Let's keep our fingers crossed. For an app that has some level of background processing already running, I do agree startup could be a little faster.  Launching Skype from a contact on L920 with 8.1 takes between 6 and 8 seconds.  Should be more like 2 or 3.
  • U nailed it man...
  • What?  No!  It should not take even 2 or 3 seconds to launch Skype on WP!  Do you know how long it takes on Android?  It's instant!  I'm not exaggerating either.  It's literally instant.  Meanwhile I have to sit there for a couple of seconds of "Loading..." on my 1020 just to clear that stupid number from the Skype live tile for a message I've already read on my computer.  WTF.  And this is after three years of Microsoft owning Skype, and two major WP releases (8.0, 8.1) that came out LONG after that acquisition.  There is no excuse for this.
  • Its very annoying and not only Skype,facebook WhatsApp and messenger all opens up on android instantly but the apps always loads and takes time to open up on WP..
  • ok...fair enough.  maybe 2 to 3 seconds still isn't fast enough.  But if we start talking about Android being instant, isn't that because of fundamental architecture differences?  I've never used an Android, but my impression is that you open the app once and then it is really running resident unless you close it - and doesn't really do backgrounding like iOS and WP.  Meaning on Android when the app isn't in the foreground it still continues to run and consume resources close to what it would if in the foreground.  So returning to the app is like you never really left it.  No?
  • No, that's wrong.  Even starting Skype the first time after rebooting the phone doesn't take 2-3 seconds on Android.  And when it's in the background, it's in the background.  I can leave it there for 4+ days on a single charge (on a Nexus 5 which is not known for its long-lasting battery) while still getting incoming message and call notifications.  Please don't make so many assumptions about something you haven't used or developed for.  If you're interested in learning, one relevant keyword is "lifecycle".
  • Settle down.  I think I clarified pretty clearly that I don't know sh!t about Android. And finished with a question.  That's why I was asking.  rude much?
  • And I answered your question.  Sorry if you interpreted it as rude, as that was not my intent.  However, I admit I'm about out of patience when it comes to people around here who try to always present WP in the best possible light and Android in the worst possible light.  How can WP improve if people insist on perceiving its weaknesses as strengths?
  • Fair enough and understood.  I investigated the push services quite awhile ago needed for WP and iOS and saw that Android did not use this. However, back to WP apps - the native apps like email and onenote all launch pretty instantly.  Even the bing and some of the nokia apps launch immediately.  Skype is actually 2-3 seconds if I open the app directly (rather than from the contact link).  A lot of apps use some UX tricks to make them appear more responsive...Skype could probably revisit their launch sequence.  No one should see the OS's loading message when an app is launched.  However, before this thread, I hadn't really noticed apps taking too long.  Just games, but I kind of expect that.
  • I don't know how you do that but when I go into People and select to make a call I don't get any options to use Skype. I also don't understand why I can't sync all my contacts in my account with my Skype contacts. They have remained completely separate although I linked my Skype and Microsoft account. Yeah, I know it seems work on the desktop but why isn't this working on WP?
  • I think the skype integration into the people hub is new for WP8.1.
  • I'm using 8.1 but have not come across any of these features yet!
  • +1020
  • Skype hasn't been evolved for Windows phone.
  • It is netter than bevor, but not that much it could be
  • Fair enough, my premium account status won't go to waste
  • Would be even nicer if they got skype working on wp8.1 - pretty embarrassing not to be working on your parent company's os....
  • +925
  • You are in a developers preview! Don't be greedy!
  • and you think things are gonna change when they release the final version ? AFAIK, they have already sent out the final version of the build to OEM and all they gonna do is to customize their firmware. OEMs are not going to update Skype.
  • Skype is going to update Skype lol
  • You obviously didn't watch BUILD.  He even showed the new Skpe app that was in progress.  It's coming.  It's an app not OS-reliant.  The only OS thing is how it connects into the call and messaging hubs now but that already works.  The will be completly updated along with many of the others.
  • Exactly my point!
  • But Skype isn't a WP 8.1 exclusive app, it should be stable on WP 8.0 and it's not.
  • Btw what's the use Skype video call icon on call screen in Wp8.1
  • Goodies :) more coming ur way
  • Sometimes I lay down on the floor and pretend I'm a potato. No but seriously, this is good, it can be enemy to Hangouts :)
  • Potato potato potato
  • And launching bananas around
  • I like to sit on my pancakes.
  • i wonder if you get free calling if you used a Skype premium voucher?
    would be awesome!
  • It sets up a Skype premium account, so I wouldn't see why not anyway...;)
  • all I'm saying is that before, using a Skype premium voucher instead of buying a subscription didn't give you free calling to a country that you wanted.
  • My bad, didn't mean to sound demeaning, I apologize :) but yeah, you bring up a good point. I don't see why that wouldn't happen though, given that it's the same Premium account service.
  • So the same thing everyone that bought a S2/SP2 already has. It is nice.
  • If I used the service more, I'd be on top of this. But I haven't had a reason to make Skype my voice calling app yet. My carrier does just fine...but nice to know if I ever travel overseas or something.
  • Good thing I got a few years free Skype premium free l last fall
  • I always said Skype should be integrated like facetime too. But this new direction MS is taking with 8.1 is all about apps. I don't think we will ever see it integrated now, cause they can update the app faster! :(
  • What are you on about? Skype is more integrated into WP8.1 DP then WP8 ever was, and I would guess deeper integration and a more polished product will be coming for the public release, and 8.1 gdr1 in or around Aug.
  • True. Hopefully they can still polish the app to a point that it feels integrated. Skype should be oS integrated and updated thru developer preview. Carriers need to stop compromising user experience with these restrictions - updating apps is Microsoft's work around
  • Microsoft cannot integrate Skype like Facetime. It legally cannot be done; this is the reason the framework they to build to "integrate" Skype works in a similar manner for other Messenger apps if there was one. Skype has a lot market share, they can't just ignore that, and do what they please. I imagine this is the reason the team has remained isolated too, they decide their own priorities.
  • the hell? Fix Skype already. Atleast give us ability to pick files and share.
  • Oh, you want Net Meeting then.
  • No, he wants a decent Skype
  • Skype sucks on Windows devices!!! Period!! Hopefully people abandon it and maybe then they will realize how shitty it was. I mean you can't even get a voice message on the modern app or on the wp8 one. What a disgrace!
  • Even images are signed as "file not supported"
  • Skype team needed their balls cut off for this. Autonomy of the Skype team has failed Microsoft Windows team!
  • Skype on WP is awful. Nowhere near as easy or good as facetime when it comes to video calling. Too slow even on a 1520.
  • Wow, MSFT are really pulling out all stops! Impressive. Well done Microsoft.
  • Looks as though calling mobiles isn't only limited to 8 locations.. Landlines and mobiles in over 50 countries  
  • I upgraded to premium for free due to a promotion. And now I will get all this for free. Awesome!
  • Signed up for my free two years with my Surface 2 voucher... never have used it. Don't know anyone outside of the U.S. that I'd like to talk to anyway. If I want to "video call" my girlfriend on her iPhone, she has to have the iOS version of the Skype app up and running for it to work.. bleh...
  • Awesome
  • i have a premium account and I just tried to call a landline; IT STILL charges me per minute. Is it effective at a later date?
  • For people who have the issues with Skype: Have any of you been providing feedback from the link in the app? You get there by tapping on your profile icon on the top right > tap three dots on the bottom > tap "help" > tap "send feedback" Maybe if enough people send feedback about the horrible Skype experience on WP, they might improve it. People who haven't had a bad experience probably are not using it on a regular basis. I have had problems on three different phones in various situation. For those on 8.1: enable pin lock on your phone, make sure it's locked, then initiate Cortana to call someone. Cortana will say she is calling and the pin lock screen pops up and nothing happens after pinning in. Let's chalk that up as a problem that needs to be fixed before 8.1 release.
  • How come Skype for Windows 8(.1) is slow, resource-heavy and has sync issues when Skype chat on Outlook works fine.. in a browser?
  • Because Skype chat's running in a browser? Where's the desktop version for RT?
  • Man Skype on Windows Phone can't send any attachment...and we are requesting these updated since ever...but look who is picking its first meaningul update. Office for iPad can AirPrint... that is quite a took them less than 3 weeks.
  • Are there premium features even in Skype for modern windows and windows phone. Hire di you do group chat on surface and WP?
  • Skype is a broken app, who is to blame? Windows Phone is the problem. Now it appears Whatsapp has taken a hike too!
  • When will we get a 'share to Skype' option in Windows/WP8.1?
  • Hello! Thank you for your article. I’d like to try to compare it to my previous experience of learning  improve polish via Skype on online classes for free. I did around 10 conversations over Skype with a native speaker from And I was pretty satisfied with their Quality. I think they have a strong teaching quality, following their course curriculum now I can speak polish like a native but i don't need to go any school, but I Want to try another option.