It has been nearly a year since Microsoft began testing their new Outlook.com Premium email service as a preview and just less than four months since they expanded access to any U.S. based customers that were already converted to the new Outlook.com service backend.

This week it appears they have lifted the preview label from the service offering but are continuing their introductory pricing for those who want to use the service.

Since Microsoft is nearly complete with the transition of all Outlook.com based accounts to the same backend services that are used by Office 365 customers, that means most Outlook.com accounts can now sign up for the service. There is a caveat though - it is still a U.S. only service for now.

During the preview program for the premium service, Microsoft offered eligible customers a special price of $19.95 per year for the service which was noted to normally cost $49.99 per year. In the fine print of the offer details it indicates this offer of $19.95 is good for one year and that renewals would be $19.95 plus $10 if you sign up for your email domain name through Microsoft. If you bring your own domain there is no charge to use it on the service.

Although it does not make it very clear when the $49.99 per year price will kick in, the special offer noted above expires on 31 March 2017. I take that to mean any renewals after that date will cost $49.99 for the Outlook.com Premium service plus the $10 Custom Domain fee if acquired through Microsoft.

I must say though, at $50 per year for the below listed services, this is a great value.

Here is what you get with Outloook.com Premium:

  • Five personalized emails xxxxxx@yourdomain.com.
  • Calendar, contact, and document sharing
  • Ad-free inbox - a service that used to cost $19.95 before Outlook.com Premium
  • All of the features of the new Outlook.com including improved security, privacy, and reliability

I have a six year old Microsoft Hosted Exchange account that costs me $60 per year and uses my own domain name so at $50 per year I would have the same services/capabilities with Outlook.com Premium and save at least $10 per year.

Keep an eye out for a walk through later this week on signing up for the service and getting the personalized domain setup.

Until then, here are some additional resources about Outlook.com Premium:

Outlook.com Premium Offer

Outlook.com Premium FAQ

But, wait...there's probably more so be sure to follow me on Twitter and Google+.