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Skype announces free group video calls in its iOS, Android and Windows 10 mobile apps

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(Credit: David Ramos/Getty Images) BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 03: A skype logo is seen at the Microsoft pavilion during the second day of the Mobile World Congress 2015 at the Fira Gran Via complex on March 3, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. The annual Mobile World Congress hosts some of the wold's largest communication companies, with many unveiling their latest phones and wearables gadgets.Mobile World Congress 2015 - Day 2
January 18
6:28 AM 2016

On its ten-year anniversary bash, Microsoft announced group video calls for Skype mobile apps, for free. This feature will be rolled out for iOS, Android and Windows 10 mobile users "over the coming weeks". It's quite the reason for celebration for the Skype users who have been long waiting for this news.

Skype has indeed come a long way from 2006 when it was first launched only in computers, and introduced to the world its innovation - free video calling. It was a novelty that changed all ways of how people could stay connected to each other, transcending the barriers of time, distance and cost.

Once the world had access, it used the service to the fullest. Doctors performed surgeries, soldiers watched their babies' birthing, the workforce community struck deals across the borders, and the scientists kept in touch with civilization from their remote corner of the world. And it goes without saying that it changed the definition of "keeping in touch" for friends and families.

Skype boasts of 750 million users who have downloaded this messenger app on their Android, Windows, iOS phones and iPads, making it one of the most popular free apps on app stores like iTunes and Google Play Store.

While the Microsoft-owned app had free group audio calls, its group video calls were limited to the subscribers - a feature sorely missed by the users, till now.

The exact date of its launch is yet to be announced, but once it goes live, the messaging app should support about 25 people in a free group video call, says Mashable. For now, Microsoft is offering a preview version on its website, where you can sign up ahead of the actual roll-out and play around with the feature.

Free group video calling is one of the most-awaited features to be rolled out by the Microsoft family. More so because none of its arch rivals, like Facetime and Facebook Messenger, can offer this service to its users yet. An exception would be Google Hangouts which supports around 10 people in a free group video call, according to The Verge.

So now would be a good time for Skype to come forward with its new service and gain momentum. The market is ready for a group video call service that comes for free. However, it remains to be seen how the much talked-about app fares on mobile sets, and if it manages to live up to all the expectations and hype created by the announcement. 

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