OK, so I am late on this bandwagon, and I probably don’t have to tell you about it already. However, on the off chance that you haven’t tried or even don’t know what it is, let me tell you about something cool that I have been playing with. If you hadn’t guessed it already, it’s called Skype. Skype is a Voice over IP (VoIP) software package that allows you to not only text and talk from one computer to another (Skype to Skype), but also to call land and mobile phones and talk as well.
Not everything is free, Skype itself is free and Skyp to Skype communication is free, but calling real phones costs you something. Right now I am signed up with a plan that gives me unlimited minutes to the U.S. and Canada for $2.95 per month … how about that?
OK, let me give you the goods. First, how does it sound? It sounds great, I honestly cannot tell it from my regular phone and neither can those who I have called so far. Naturally this will depend heavily on the speed and quality of your Internet connection, but the technology itself seems solid.
Second, how much does it cost? Well, I have already mentioned the $2.95 for unlimited U.S. and Canada calls, they also have great rates for over seas and more. Outbound calling is quite reasonable it seams. If you want a number that people can call you on, and voice mail, that costs extra but the costs are not bad, especially if you have a subscription with them instead of simply paying as you go. Depending on where you live, availability of local numbers might be an issue.
The only downside is that you need to use your computer, so you are tethered to it. But wait! You can get a VoIP phone for under $60 that let’s you use it just like a cordless phone. Of course, you can spend more and get something fancier too.
All in all, I am liking my Skype experience, I’ll share more as time goes on but I suggest you check it out if you have any need to VoIP, chat or video chat software.