Skype is a very popular free communication software, compatible with Mac and Windows computers. It is easy to use, and is quickly eliminating the need for a landline phone. This program allows users to make and receive phone calls from their home computer.
The Death of the Landline
While many people might argue that the death of the landline came with the mobile phone, there are still quite a few legitimate reasons not to swap one's landline for a cellular phone. The cost of using a mobile phone to make all one's phone calls can get quite expensive. Cellphones are a great way to stay in touch with people while out running errands or doing business, however they're not exactly ideal for fielding long conversations with a client or a grandmother on a Wednesday afternoon.
Most mobile phone contracts include a lots of free usage during the evenings and weekends, and the user can choose how many minutes he or she wants to purchase for use outside of those boundaries. The more "anytime" minutes you require, the more you'll need to spend, not to mention the devastation to your checking account that can occur if you exceed the allowed minutes. Skype is a great solution for people who don't want to spend tons of money on daytime phone calls.
Skype has plenty of free features to help people stay in touch with loved ones and clients alike. Free, unlimited video and voice chat is available for all Skype to Skype calls. Just make sure everyone on your contact list knows about this free service, and staying in touch is easier than ever. If both users have a webcam, they can take advantage of intimate face to face conversations. If not, they are free to send instant text messages or engage in voice chat. Skype also allows free unlimited file sharing, making it easier than ever to instantly send images or documents to friends, family and business associates.
The free features of Skype may be enough for many people, but for the rest of us, premium features are available at great prices. If you only have the need for an occasional call to a landline or cell phone, you have the option of paying per minute. It is a lot like a prepaid cellphone plan. The user puts money on his or her account, and then can use those funds to make long distance or local calls. Per-minute prices are available at www.skype.com, and there are regular discounts available for different regions.
Skype offers a variety of plans, to make sure users don't have to pay for services they wont use. Monthly subscriptions start at $2.99, for unlimited calls within the United States and Canada. The next plan includes all of North America, at $7.99 per month, and the most comprehensive monthly subscription includes unlimited calls worldwide, across more than 40 countries, at $13.99 per month.
Additionally, Skype offers premium packages, which can be purchased a day at a time, $4.99 per day; a month at a time, at $8.99 per month; 3 months at a time, at $6.74 per month and a year at a time, at $4.49 per month. The 3 month premium subscription comes out to a total of around $20, and the year-long subscription comes out to about $54. The premium features include group video calling, group screen sharing, live chat customer support, in addition to everything available at the free level. A one-month subscription and up includes a 25% discount on an HD webcam, and the 3-month and year subscription includes unlimited calls within the US and Canada.