Are you considering canceling your home phone service to use Skype for all your local, long distance and international calling needs? Think again before you make this hasty move. Skype is a high-quality, VoIP service that offers very low-cost (or free) calling to and from your computer, but it doesn’t do everything your home phone service can do.
Skype Costs Less than Most Home Phone Service
One of the benefits to using Skype to replace your home phone service is the cost. You can use Skype to dial cell phones or home phones across the U.S., North America, or worldwide for low prices with Skype’s paid subscription plans. Skype’s paid subscription plans range in price from $2.99 to $13.99 a month, with a small one-time connection fee added to your total price. If you purchase a 12-month subscription, you’ll save 15% at checkout, according to the website.
Skype’s pay-as-you-go plan to call home phones or mobile numbers worldwide costs up to 2.1 cents per minute (depending on where you’re calling). Skype-to-Skype calling is always free.
What You Need for Skype
With any of Skype’s subscription plans, Skype-pay-as-you-go service, or Skype-to-Skype calling, you’ll need:
- A Windows or Mac computer
- An internet connection (broadband is best)
- A built-in or external webcam for video calls
- A headset with microphone (required) and earbuds or earphones (preferred) that plug into your computer
Drawbacks to Skype
As you can see, a home telephone is not on the list of equipment required for Skype. The audio on the calls will only be as good as your microphone and speakers—and anyone who’s used a computer microphone for teleconferencing knows there’s an art and science to using a microphone effectively.
Another drawback to using Skype for your calling needs is that the basic subscription or free plan leaves you tied to your computer. If you like to do housework, exercise, or do other things while you’re on the phone, this could cause a problem.
Additionally, when you’re running Skype, other programs and applications may slow down substantially (depending on your computer). Even multi-tasking at your computer during Skype phone calls could be a challenge.
If you share one family computer, and you need to make a phone call while someone else is on the computer—you are back to the same challenges people faced with telephone modem Internet connections. You can’t use the phone and computer at the same time. In the fast-paced life of most families, this isn’t acceptable.
Fortunately, Skype has devised a way around this with a way to use Skype from your home or cell phone with Skype to Go.
Replace Your Landline with Skype to Go? Not Quite
When you use Skype-to-go from your home phone, you pay your standard operator fee for a local phone call through your home phone service plan. You dial in to a Skype access number, and then place your long distance or international call—paying Skype’s low per-minute or subscription rates.
But, you still need home phone service to place the initial call to access Skype. Skype can offer substantial savings on long-distance and, especially, international calling, but it is not quite a viable alternative to paying for home phone service.
Another important point: Unlike conventional VoIP services, Skype cannot be used for emergency calling. The Skype website emphasizes, “Skype is a not replacement for your ordinary telephone.”
Save Money On Your Home Phone Service
If you are looking to save money on long distance and international calling by using Skype, you can certainly do so. First, shop through Allconnect to find the lowest prices on basic home telephone service and then use Skype-to-go with your home phone for long distance and international calls.