Following the conclusion of a free calling promotion in the US and Canada at the end of the year, Internet communications firm Skype will offer customers the same year-long unlimited calls plan at a flat rate.

Skype, a division of Ebay Inc. (NASDQ: EBAY), announced on Wednesday that customers in the US and Canada will be able to make unlimited calls to any phone for $29.95 per year.

The new Skype Unlimited Calling Plan is an affordable option that will save consumers hundreds of dollars compared to high rates charged by traditional phone companies, said Don Albert, North America General Manager for Skype.

People who sign up for the new plan before January 31, 2007 will receive a special discounted introductory rate of $14.95 per year. Skype to Skype calls will remain free, the company said as well as pay-as-you-go plans, where calls to US and Canadian numbers are charged at 2.1 cents per minute.

The new pricing plan will begin immediately after the end of Skype's current promotion that allows free calls within the US and Canada until December 31, 2006.

Skype, which uses voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP)technology for connecting customers, says it had over 11.9 million registered users as of the end of September 2006.