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Cheaper than Skype: Viber introduces Viber Out international calling feature

Messaging service Viber has officially launched its new calling feature that allows users to make international phonecalls four times cheaper than Skype.

The Viber Out service was first launched last month in the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. Today the company announced the global release for all Android and iPhone users, with an app for Windows Phone expected in the near future.

Currently, more than 200 million people in 193 countries use Viber, including those who use the service on their desktops.

"Viber Out gives our millions of users a new way to use Viber and ensures that they can reach any contact at any time," said Talmon Marco, CEO of Viber. "We will continue to improve Viber Out, keeping our users connected at the most affordable rates possible."

As well as the cheaper calling rates, Viber has other unique features that have been attracting customers. Unlike Skype, Viber is able to display the user's real phone number to the recipient so that they know who is calling.

Viber Out is the app's second paid feature, following in the footsteps of the Viber Sticker Market launched in October.

Timo Ahomäki, chief technology officer of IT solutions company Tecnotree, recently revealed in an interview with ITProPortal that mobile operators feared the rising popularity of OTT services like Skype and Viber.

"This has become an increased concern over previous challenges of regulation, with time to market, customer churn and loyalty, however each of these are still posing a big challenge for operators," he said.