But first of all, one has to detach oneself from the umbilical cord that binds you to the computer. I will explain these three different services first, and then I will explain how you can use this service even when your computer is turned off, from any room in the house.
If any of your contacts are on Skype themselves, then you can not only talk to them free of charge, but if you have a web-cam (video camera) you can make video calls. In addition, you can arrange conference calls between a few friends.
I had a look at the Skype website and discovered some very interesting services there which are especially useful for calling people who are not on Skype..
Skype have three monthly payment plans, but unlike telephone companies, you don’t have to sign a contract and can leave at any time.
The three contracts that interested me most (see below) all included “unlimited local calls” 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I also thought the free voice-mail and additional telephone number could be useful.
These were as follows:
For a single European country, (I chose the United Kingdom as I live here) it costs £1.95 plus VAT (£2.24) a month, I would get all my calls to landlines free including a discount on other types of calls. And I can choose which country to have my free phone number in. If I choose the US, then all my American friends can call me without International charges.
For those who have lots of contacts in Europe, for £2.95 plus VAT (£3.39) a month you would get free calls to 21 European countries.
And if a lot of your contacts are further afield, you would, for £6.95 plus VAT (£7.99) a month not only would you get free landline calls, but three telephone numbers. For example, if you live in the UK and have a daughter who emigrated to Sydney, Australia, you could chose a Sydney phone number so she could phone home for the price of a local call.
As I mentioned, I decided to just subscribe to the UK only service and pay extra for the very few overseas calls I make. I had the choice of paying monthly (gross) for £2.24, or paying quarterly which worked out at £2.09 a month or paying £22.43 a year which have me a monthly cost of only £1.87.
On checking all the phones that are available, including mobile phones with Skype built in from “3”; I decided on the “RTX Dualphone 3088”
This is a DECT wire-less telephone that can be used around the house, even with the computer turned off. This would, I thought, be useful. This came to £73.90 net (£84.99 gross).
With it I could receive incoming calls from my land-line, my Skype number, or Skype to Skype calls. In addition, I could also make outgoing calls through Skype, or direct through my Telco. And it did not matter whether my computer was on or off as everything went straight through the router.
When the phone arrived I thought I would charge up the batteries and play with it for a while before reading the manual. It was so intuitive that I had everything set up and, when I finally read the manual to see if I had missed anything, I hadn’t!
Whereas the telephone number is useful if you prefer to use the umbilical cord and stay glued to the computer, it is not necessary with a dual phone as people can still get through to you on your Telco’s number.
There is nothing wrong with the Skype service, once you divorce it from your computer.