Skype is the grand-daddy of VoIP communications. It provides the opportunity to tap into really good pricing for home and international calls. In addition, it provides you with the opportunity to connect with people around the world for free, if they also have the software.
An intro to Skype
Skype is a voice over Internet protocol communication tool. It started off as computer-based software. Skype users can connect to each other over the Internet and make phone calls and run instant messaging chat sessions for free.
Skype is the most popular video chat system in the world. There are literally millions of people using it on a day-to-day basis. This makes it incredibly functional if you want to engage with friends and family, because they probably already have it on their devices.
Nowadays you can chat from smartphone to tablet, from tablet to computer, from smartphone to smartphone and so on.
Getting a Skype Phone
Many phones these days come pre-installed with Skype. However, even if your phone does not have it right now you can download it from the App Store for your operating system. Skype is compatible with iOS, Android and Windows Phones (not Windows 7).
Getting a Skype phone for use on the go means you need to get a 3G or 4G enabled handset. It also requires that you have to have Internet access in order to use your Skype when you are out and about.
Even if you do not have a 3G enabled phone you could use Skype on Wi-Fi. Most phones these days come with Wi-Fi compatibility and therefore you can jump on to your home network, or a network when you are out and about, and use Skype.
The best thing about Skype is that it is free when you are calling other people using Skype.
Skype to Landline
If you are calling landlines or mobiles from your Skype then you can top up online. There are a number of different packages that you can tap into. For example, you could get a full unlimited package of calls to landlines in the UK. This only costs around £5 a month. When you have this package you needn’t spend anything on calls to landlines ever again, apart from this £5 per month.
Alternatively, you could top up your account online and have a rolling in balance. This is essentially the Skype pay as you go option that provides you with excellent value calls to landlines and mobiles. You have a variety of top up options that generally start from £10 plus VAT. You can also credit in Euros, Dollars or another currency of your choice.
A nice feature of the service is that you can set it to automatically top up when you hit a certain balance. For example, you can set it to top up when you hit £2 left in the account. This means that you have a rolling account with Skype which credits from your credit card or your PayPal account. You needn’t ever have a situation where you are in the middle of a call and it drops because you run out of credit.
Skype to International Numbers
There are literally millions of people who use international calling cards on a daily basis. They will go down to a store and buy a card and then they will call from their mobile phones using the details from the card in order to make calls at reduced rates.
Skype can replace the requirement to go out and buy these cards. Making calls to international numbers is very affordable through Skype. Again, you need to credit your account in order to have a sufficient account balance. Alternatively, you could go for a Europe-wide or worldwide package that you pay for on a monthly basis. Be careful, as some countries are not included in the worldwide package. All the details are available on the Skype website.
The calls from Skype to international numbers are very similar to the call rates you will get when you are calling from an international calling card. The convenience makes it a much better option for many.
Which Phones Can You Use?
When you are looking to get a Skype phone you really do have a lot of options. These days we have 4G as well as 3G. This means that you can get on and make seamless smartphone Skype phone calls wherever you are. 3G covers around 99% of the UK. 4G has currently hit around 60% of the UK. As 4G replaces 3G as the dominant mobile network connectivity technology, we are going to find it easier and easier to make video chat calls over Skype rather than just voice chat.
To choose a Skype phone all you need to do is find a phone that is 3G or 4G enabled. Some of the best out there at the moment are the Samsung Galaxy S4, the LG G2, the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the Sony Xperia Z and the Google Nexus 5.
❖ ❖ ❖ Watch Out For Your Data Allowances! ❖ ❖ ❖
However, if you are doing very long Skype chats then you could easily consume a great deal of data. An hour of Skype per day could use around 2 GB of data per month. You therefore need to be aware of the amount of data that you are consuming on your Skype phone.
About this guest author:
Do you blog AND have Skype? Interested in connecting with other bloggers for support, learning, etc.? Listen to Gail Gardner of growmap discuss blogger collaboration with MBG’s Deborah Anderson!