Skype hoping to boost its popularity in the US and Canada has introduced free calls to traditional landlines and mobile phones.

In a move that is likely to strike fear in telecoms companies across the continent Skype customers can now make free SkypeOut calls to traditional landline and mobile phones in the US and Canada.

Previously, Skype users in both countries were required to pay for Skype calls from their PCs to traditional telephones. Free SkypeOut calls to the US or Canada will be available to US and Canadian-based Skype users until the end of the year.

The company said the move was to "increase penetration in North America and solidify Skype’s position as the Internet’s voice communication tool of choice".

“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 US and Canada”, said Henry Gomez, General Manager, Skype North America. “We’re very excited to be bringing Skype’s convenience and voice quality to so many people for free.”

While SkypeOut calls within the US and Canada will now be free, SkypeOut calls to and within all other countries will continue to incur charges. Those charges are unchanged by today’s announcement and remain among the lowest available to consumers.

No word as yet to whether or not the UK will be getting the same deal anytime soon.