How To Use Skype as Your Home Phone
Use Skype as an IP phone in your home
Skype is an inexpensive alternative to having a traditional landline in your home. Skype is an IP based phone application that runs over your internet connection on your computer, or on your Iphone or Ipod Touch.
- SkypeIn is a service that allows you to get a phone number that anyone can call. That's right. Anyone.
- Plans for calling out. Skype offers inexpensive programs for the ability to call any phone number as well. We pay $2.95 per month.
- Runs over IP based networks.
- Talk free to other Skypers - Skype to Skype
How to Setup Skype
- Go to Skype.com and download the application
- Install the application
- Create a username - After you install the Skype Application, start it up and it will prompt you to login or create an account (This is a little confusing, since I couldn't find a way to create an account without installing the app on my computer first)
The next steps are optional
- Purchase Skype Out credits or a plan. This allows you to call any phone
- Purchase a Skype In number. This get's you a personal phone number that can receive calls from any phone as long as you are connected to the internet.
How To Install Skype on Your Iphone or IPod Touch
- Download the Skype for Iphone Application.
- When the application is downloaded, on a mac it will prompt you to send the application to Itunes. (You need Itunes to get applications on your Iphone or Ipod Touch). Select the Itunes application.
- Synch the applications to your Iphone.
- Make sure your Iphone or Ipod is connected to Wifi
- Start the Skype application on your Iphone or Touch and start making calls.
Once Skype is installed on your Iphone or Ipod touch you can make and recieve calls. However, if you're not connected to wifi, then it will pull up a message and say that the carrier doesn't allow Skype to access the 3G network. Hopefully the mobile phone carriers will resolve this. If they don't I'm tempted to get an Ipod Touch and ditch the mobile contract.
Issues I had setting Skype up
- I was creating an account for my wife and couldn't figure out how to create her an account, so I downloaded and installed the application. Once I started the application I could create a new account.
- The first two test calls I made to my mobile phone worked fine. But after that it wouldn't dial out until I added Skype Credits or purchased a plan. Skype doesn't provide any messaging around this, so it's weird that it works, then stops and they don't tell you why, but if you dig a little you figure out that you just have to pay - It can't all be free.
- When I ordered the subscription to call out, it didn't have an option to order a SkypeIn number at the same time so we could have a number for people off of Skype to call us. It would be nice if there was a little bundle with the option of SkypeOut and a SkypeIn number. But, you have to order each separately. The SkypeIn number is $12 for three months or $36 per year after you order a subscription plan. So order a SkypeOut plan first - It will save you a little mony on SkypeIn if you order it.
- When I ordered SkypeIn, it let's you select from available area codes and then it offers a little box to type in a number you want. This was totally broken on my mac, so I had to refresh the page and pick the one phone number Skype suggested. It would have been cool, to get a number I wanted, but it didn't work. I even tried the "*" wild card feature and that didn't work either. This was the most confusing part of the entire setup. I kept feeling like I was missing something.
How is the call quality on Skype to Regular Phones
The sound quality is very good, although there seems to be a very slight delay which I think is understandable since her phone is connected to our wireless network that's plugged into highspeed comcast internet access, that is then routed through Skypes network and then connected to my mobile phone.
Is Skype a good solution for a home phone
Skype is an excellent solution for a home phone, especially when it's on the Iphone or Ipod Touch. These devices work like a traditional phone vs talking on your computer.
If I was interested in adding an additional line to my house and had highspeed internet, I'd consider this option. I'd also consider it if I primarily used my mobile phone, but had poor connectivity at home and didn't want to pay for a traditional landline. The third way I think it makes sense is if you talk on the phone very little, but have the infrastructure to support it and want to make phone calls in an emergency. The final reason I think it could make sense if you make a lot of international calls. I don't, but it appears that Skype rates are much less expensive for calling foreign countries.
Skype on an Ipod Touch is a good alternative for a phone for kids
Instead of getting our daughter a mobile phone that has an expensive monthly fee, we purchased her an Ipod touch from Costco and set her up with a Skype account with her own number. It has worked really well, accpet that she prefers to text more than talk. To text, she uses the built in apple messaging system, she also installed the free text messaging application. The only downside is she has to be connected to wifi for this solution to work, but I think it's a very good alternative to purchasing a kid a mobile phone.