Skype is hoping to catch the eye of thousands of American shoppers by signing a deal with electronics reatailer Radio Shack (Tandy in the UK) just a month before Christmas.

The deal will mean that Skype, which boasts 66 million users and was recently bought by eBay for $4.1 billion will distribute Skype phone gear through 3,500 US RadioShack stores across America.

The move is seen as an attempt by the VoIP company to introduce its service in America against players such as Vonage.

"The retail pact with RadioShack is Skype's first general distribution deal with a retailer anywhere in the world", Saul Klein, Skype's vice president of global marketing, told Reuters.

Skype will also be featured in RadioShack's holiday mailings and catalogue.

Beginning Monday, RadioShack will feature Skype products similar to the current offering on its website in a special kiosk, including a new wireless Bluetooth Motorola, and offerings from Logitech and Linksys.

The company has also said that it will feature starter kits for $5 with a simple earpiece/microphone, software and 30 minutes of free Skype calling time to any number in the world.