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Skype Tunes Service For Business

Internet telephony provider Skype Technologies on Tuesday launched a small business program that lets one person buy and distribute Skype premium services among a group of people.

First available in beta in September, Skype Groups centralizes management of pre-paid services around an administrator, which can purchase the service through Moneybookers and bank transfers, the Luxembourg company said. Select companies can also use PayPal and credit cards.

Skype launched the program to better serve the 30 percent of its 61 million registered users who use Skype's voice over Internet protocol service for business, company officials said.

"We responded to their needs with Skype Groups, which will increase customer satisfaction by making it even simpler to purchase premium services," Niklas Zennstr?m, Skype chief executive and co-founder, said in a statement.

Skype, which was recently bought by online auctioneer EBay Inc., does not charge for PC-to-PC voice communications using its software. The company, however, charges a few cents a minute for its premium service, which enables customers to connect to people who are using traditional phone lines.