Skype, eBay Inc.'s Internet telephone subsidiary, has stopped charging users for dialing up people on traditional landline and mobile phones in the U.S. and Canada.

The Internet telephone service, which has always offered free PC-to-PC calls around the world, said Monday it will offer its SkypeOut service for free until the end of the year. Previously, Skype users paid about 2 cents a minute for calls to landline and mobile telephones.

"Millions of consumers around the world are flocking to Skype every month, and we believe free SkypeOut calling will rapidly accelerate Skype adoption in the U.S. and Canada," said Henry Gomez, general manager of Skype North America.

$Users who make outgoing calls to and within countries outside the U.S. and Canada will continue to incur per-minute charges. The company also said it will continue to charge for traditional phone numbers that can be dialed from any phone to reach Skype users.

Skype, which was acquired last year by online auctioneer eBay for $2.6 billion, recently announced it has 100 million registered users worldwide.

Source: Associated Press