A reader wrote in about using Skype as a replacement phone service. This was good timing because I also wanted to ask about using Skype internationally.
Skype While Traveling Internationally?
I’m preparing for my trip to Spain, and have the following plan for keeping in touch. All calls are routed to my cell phone, which doesn’t work abroad. I am bringing my laptop, so with WiFI I can use SkypeOut to call and check voicemail once a day, at 2.1 cents/minute. I can then make more calls to the US as needed. According to the Skype FAQ, it only matters where I’m calling to, not where I’m calling from. I can even call places in Spain for 2.1 cents/minute.
Am I missing anything with this plan?
My Experiences with Skype
I have used Skype for a few months during a remote work assignment when I had to take long calls that my cell phone plan wouldn’t support. I simply bought a SkypeIn number, which allowed me to take regular phone calls and participate in conference calls. The phone quality was good, but I used it only for a a few months, and always for scheduled calls and with a headset. I never used it with a regular phone, and never had to respond to incoming calls.
Cheap PC-to-Phone Plug Adapter
Here is a D-Link DPH-50U Skype USB Phone Adapter that only costs $10 after rebate ($20 before). It connects to your computer’s USB port, and creates two regular RJ-11 phone jacks that you can plug in traditional landline phone systems. Only works with Windows. The reviews seem to be positive overall. For those with problems, the general consensus seems to be that you need to install the newest Windows Vista drivers from the D-Link website (even if you run XP).
Anyone with experience using this product? I know there are other cool but expensive stuff out there like the Skype WiFi Phone.
If it works, you could replicate a landline for $8/month including taxes. SkypeIn is $60/year ($5/month) and gives you a phone number and unlimited incoming calls, and SkypeOut is $2.95/mo for unlimited calling to US and Canada. Just get one of those combos with multiple handsets and you can still have phones all around the house. (My favorite are Panasonics which take generic NiMH AAA batteries – cheap to replace!)
Cons are that you’d have to connect it to a computer that is turned on all day. Another disadvantage would of course be the inability to make emergency calls. With Skype, you will not get any 911 service – not even the e911 available with some VoIP providers – nor will it work without power and internet access. Not a big deal for the many of us who have already gone cell phone only.