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International phone calls through the Internet
Skype gives you free phone calls around the world. The phone handset plugs into your computer and the phone connection goes across the Net like e-mails, free, without clocking up phone bills by going through the meter at the phone exchange.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Skype service is no longer available in China. Apologies to our Chinese visitors!
Here's Skype describing Skype for you: "What is Skype? Skype is a little piece of software that lets you make free calls over the Internet. We are revolutionizing the telecoms world by allowing our users to make superior quality voice calls to other Skype users for free and to landlines and mobiles worldwide for the price of a local call.
We don't like to blow our own trumpet, but we're pretty popular because of it. We've already had over 100 million downloads of our software and every day over 150,000 new users join us and our 33 million active users".
They also add that Skype is free to download, easy to setup and is generating lots of interest. I can see why. People are now able to talk across the world without having to pay conventional international call rates, (which in some places are very expensive!).
The Skype software is available for Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and Pocket PC platforms, and calls between these all should work about the same. Also, there are a range of premium services which may be worth looking into, as well as the stuff that's free.
SKYPE: "SkypeOut lets you call landlines and mobile phones around the world at local rates and users can buy credit in units of 10 or 25.
SkypeIn gives you a personal number so that friends can call you on Skype from their old-fashioned phones*, wherever you connect around the world. A SkypeIn number costs 10 for 3 months or 30 for a full year and comes with free Skype Voicemail.
Skype Voicemail lets you pickup messages when you're offline, away from your computer or just ignoring people. A Skype Voicemail subscription costs 5 for 3 months or 15 for a year".
* Notice how Skype have such a revolutionary advantage that phones that have to go through the telephone exchange are being described as "old fashioned phones"!
Here's a key feature of the SKYPE system: "It does not matter where you're calling from, only where you're calling to. Sitting in London and calling your friend next door costs the same as sitting in Beijing and calling your friend in London".
"Skype Technologies has created the world's leading global Internet telephony and communications platform. Browse through the "News" section on our website and you'll get a sense for how we move - FAST. The excitement around Skype is unmatched and our software is catching on faster than anything before in computing history. With over 100 million downloads of our product, nearly everyone knows someone who is talking for free, or at cheap local rates, no matter where or when they call".
So, in essence you can make phone calls to anywhere, regardless of whether the link is international or local, and it's free if you're calling anyone anywhere in the world who's also on the Skype network. And if they're not on the network yet, you can either show them this page and get them to sign up, or you can pay a small (local call) rate.
They continue to explain: "SkypeOut lets you call landlines and mobile phones around the world at local rates and users can buy credit in units of 10 or 25. Why would someone want to call a normal landline or mobile phone when you can make a call for free? Well for one, you might want to call someone that hasn't downloaded Skype yet. We do have 33 million registered users, but the world's a big place, so there are still many people that only use their normal phone lines. Second, even if you're calling another Skype user, they might not have access to an Internet connection at the time you would like to call.
SkypeIn gives you a personal number so that friends can call you on Skype from their old-fashioned phones, wherever you connect around the world. A SkypeIn number costs 10 for 3 months or 30 for a full year and comes with free Skype Voicemail. Why would someone want to get a SkypeIn number? Again there are many reasons. Perhaps you would just like a cheap additional phone line, for business or pleasure. And for those that travel a lot or find themselves away from home often, there is even more reason. Choose a SkypeIn number with what you would call a local area code and your friends and loved ones can call you anywhere in the world for the price of calling that area and for you there are no roaming charges! Just your flat price for the number.
Skype Voicemail lets you pickup messages when you're offline, away from your computer or just ignoring people. In addition you can send voicemails directly to other Skype users for those times when you need to express something in words but perhaps don't have time for a conversation. A Skype Voicemail subscription costs 5 for 3 months or 15 for a year". (The prices may have improved since the time this was first published)
If you have been tempted by this, here's the link:
Link Here To Go To The Place!
www.skype.net affiliate program is with Commission Junction and it's especially of note that Skype are affiliate-friendly. Plus, the fact the magic word "Linux" is being said is always a good sign.
Update 2007: The success of VOIP and SKYPE has now reached a level where some countries and some corporate organisations have tried to ban it. What If They Ban Skype . Also, now Skype is becoming so well known, you may see messages arriving claiming to be from Skype, but many of these are hoaxes, especially if they are of the form Skype Account Blocked!
Although we like Skype here, we deplore Facebook. Down with Facebook! Shame be upon Skype for allowing Facebook to muscle-in to invade the privacy of people on Skype. How dare they?! Skype should have nothing to do with Facebook and should get rid of it by default. Note: There are ways to remove Facebook and its annoying little tabs from Skype. One way to for you to upgrade to the "Business" version. You can upgrade to it via this link page. I don't know if it costs, but it's worth it for your privacy. Alternatively, I'd suggest doing a search for "remove facebook from skype". Also, if enough of us complain, we might get Skype to take notice and get rid of Facebook.