Skype – Too Good To Be True?

by Kevin on May 10, 2008

Skype

I’ve been aware of Skype for quite some time. It’s a very interesting idea — making phone calls from your computer to land line phones and cell phones.

However, I never truly paid it any mind. It requires a Skype phone, and you have to sign up for service. I’m in the target demographic — 20-30 somethings — but I have a cell phone. Why would I pay for another phone and another service?

Wait, did you just say $2.95/month unlimited calling in the US and Canada? Woah. Now I’m paying attention.

Again, let me restate I doubt I would use the service. But it sounds like a darn good deal.

Compare to…

  • Vonage $24.99 per month
  • Typical phone service $15-20 per month plus long distance charges
  • Cell phone (roughly 10 cents per minute)

…then $2.95 per month (roughly $36 per year) and you get unlimited calls within the US and Canada. If you do a lot of desk work or call from your home phone a lot, that seems like a stellar deal.

Maybe I’m missing something. You tell me. Skype — too good to be true or simply awesome deal?

Update: Comments from the Readers

Some readers have pointed out that Skype to Skype calls are absolutely free if both users have Skype and a microphone for a computer. So if everyone was using Skype, you wouldn’t even have to pay the $3/month charge. However, $3/month for unlimited calling to non-Skype users is still a great deal.

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{ 8 comments }

Stephanie @ PoorerThanYou May 10, 2008 at 9:39 am

I use Skype for it’s free services. I have many, many online friends from various message boards over the years – one of the boards, we had weekly Skype chats last summer. We all get to hear each other’s voices and we had a lot of laughs – for free! You just need a headset, or a mic and speakers. The phone thing is only necessary if you want to call actual phone numbers – Skype to Skype is free. I’ve never paid a penny or even put in my credit card info.

My mom occasionally uses the paid services to talk to her international friends, as well.

Michael Smith May 10, 2008 at 10:03 am

Same for me as for Stephanie. I talk to a lot of my friends overseas through Skype’s free internet service. Talk as much as you like and it’s absolutely free!

As far as the actual phone thing goes, if it’s like the internet service, it’s great as long as you have a reliable internet connection.

I would wonder if there’s any fine print regarding calls to land lines and cell phones; and how much is the Skype phone itself? But it’s probably still better than $20/month.

The Monetizer May 10, 2008 at 10:46 am

For some reason I thought both you and the party you’re calling had to have the Skype phones and service. They may have changed it recently. I agree though, it looks like a good deal, but at times high speed internet can be shaky or unstable.

Chuck May 10, 2008 at 11:19 am

There are a couple kinds of Skype phones. The ones that hook up to your computer are about $20, but the downside to those is you have to have your computer on all the time to use them.

The nicer ones that you don’t need to have your computer on for run from $100 – $150.

Depends what kind of initial investment you want to make.

Eric Matal May 10, 2008 at 3:28 pm

I’m as user of skype and it doesn’t require a skype phone. I utilizer the $3.00 a month servcie unlimited LD to US/Canada for some independent contracting work that I’m doing. My opinion is that the network is stable. I’d say less than 1% of the hundreds of calls I’ve made with it have actually not gone through. While it is a great deal (especially considering I pay $40 a month for Time Warner “digital” phone) it has one main drawback that’s an admitted fault by Skype, it has no 911 service. Reason enough to keep a prepaid cell phone in service for emergencies.

The version of Skype out now is 3.8 and the quality of the calls has really improved. I have a skypein number in my area code for my business calls and for all intensive purposes, it’s my business line.

Oh back to the skype phone. I use a Plantronics USB headset with microphone to communicate…I’ve never had a person say a thing about the quality. Thumbs Up from my point of view

Shawn Knight May 10, 2008 at 4:34 pm

I tried Skype a few months back using my webcam and I was very disappointed. The software kept freezing and after a few days, I gave up on it.

Penelope @ Our Fourpence Worth May 11, 2008 at 3:24 am

My cousin just came to visit today and he brought us a webcam and mic/headset because we have a lot of overseas relatives and it can help us save on calls. We did a test call to each other after he got home and the sound was surprisingly good. I had no trouble hearing him nor he me. A lot of our relatives use Skype for free overseas calls (on computers) and are happy with it; one of my cousins told me that the sound quality is much better than that of MSN Messenger.

So, so far I like it! 🙂

RobertBrown May 11, 2008 at 4:15 pm

I’ve been tempted by the latest mobile phone deal in the UK – with the new wireless broadband coverage of 3G using Skype offers free mobile calls anywhere in the world (that gets my interest even more than the land line services) – however as I understand it Skype works much like bittorrent type servers (the creators introduced LimeWire for music and Joost for TV) – every call I’ve held on Skype so far on my PC has been low quality and with dropped service. Admittedly, we were speaking to someone in Portugal from the UK for free, but I’m not sure the service has the reliability it needs yet to be widely adopted, but needs to be widely adopted to be reliable. Catch 22.

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