HGC-Skype Portal Unveiled HGC Leads Asia in Rolling Out SkypeIn and Skype Voicemail ServiceHutchison Global Communications Limited ("HGC") and Skype Technologies S.A. ("Skype"), the Global Internet Telephony CompanyTM, today officially unveiled their co-branded portal "HGC-Skype" (http://skype.hgcbroadband.com) in Hong Kong. At "HGC-Skype", users can download the latest version 1.2 of HGC-Skype software to enjoy free Skype to Skype global calling and the public beta versions of SkypeIn and Skype Voicemail services at low prices.
HGC is the first Fixed Telecommunications Network Services ("FTNS") operator in the world to have reached a co-branding agreement with Skype and also the first in Asia to collaborate with Skype to offer SkypeIn and Skype Voicemail. With SkypeIn, customers are able to receive inbound calls from fixed and mobile phones. Skype Voicemail allows callers to leave voice messages when the Skype user is busy or offline and the Skype user can manage incoming messages with a variety of personalisation features. During the release of public beta version of SkypeIn, users can subscribe to the service with up to three numbers. For users subscribing to the service with Hong Kong numbers, the numbers would be prefix-eight-eight-digit numbers assigned by HGC. SkypeIn service is currently available with telephone numbers in France, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the United States.
With a quarterly fee of HK$1051 or an annual fee of HK$3152 , "HGC-Skype" users can subscribe to the SkypeIn service and enjoy the Skype Voicemail service for free. Alternatively, users can apply for a standalone voicemail service at HK$45 for three months or HK$160 for 12 months3. Voicemail users can receive voicemail messages of up to 10 minutes long each, from another Skype user or from the fixed and mobile telephony network4.
To celebrate the official launch, the first 500 persons to download the "HGC-Skype" software will also enjoy a free trial of HGC's Wireless Broadband service at selected popular shopping malls and restaurants until 31 May 2005. "HGC Broadband" customers who are among the first 500 users downloading their "HGC-Skype" software can in addition receive a free Plantronics-Audio 50 headset, a preferred headset of Skype. The 501st to 5,500th persons to download the HGC-Skype software will receive a free Skype Voicemail coupon. For more details, customers should call the HGC 24-hour Customer Service Hotline on 1226.
Peter Wong, Chief Executive Officer of HGC, said, "HGC is proud to be the first FTNS operator in Asia to partner with Skype to offer SkypeIn and Skype Voicemail services through our just-unveiled co-branded portal. Representing our long-term commitment to delivering 'multi-play' applications and content through strong partnerships with leading service providers, our partnership with Skype further enhances our suite of services to meet the needs of our customers."
Mr. Wong added, "SkypeIn demonstrates how the best voice communications technologies can be integrated with the Internet platform to deliver genuine value-added and convenient services to enable users to stay in constant touch with friends, relatives and business contacts – anytime, anywhere."
"HGC is a tremendous partner for Skype in Asia," said Niklas Zennström, Skype CEO and co-founder. "Together we are setting new standards for modern communications by expanding premium services that extend Skype portability and ubiquity across a variety of platforms and HGC is key in helping us offer SkypeIn and Skype Voicemail to our users."
The "HGC-Skype" portal allows Hong Kong users to download the latest free HGC-Skype software which allows users to make free and unlimited Skype-to-Skype voice calls while the pre-paid SkypeOut service enables users to call any fixed or mobile phone worldwide at special rates. Other enhanced user benefits include a centralised contact list, which allows users to access their list of contacts from multiple devices from wherever they connect to HGC-Skype; a new 'Getting Started Wizard', which makes finding and importing contacts, and making test calls even easier; multiple file transfer; updated sounds; more customised settings to personalise the HGC-Skype experience; and the superior voice quality that HGC-Skype users have come to expect.
Skype is the leading VoIP-category product worldwide, with more than 33 million registered users increasing at a rate of more than 160,000 per day. To date, more than 6 billion minutes of Skype calls have been made around the world, with users enjoying the instantly downloadable, easy-to-use software.