Free calls to toll-free phone numbers global beta
We’ve just made a change to SkypeOut that allows you to call toll-free numbers in several countries free of charge, even if you don’t have SkypeOut and don’t ever plan to buy it. (If you DO have SkypeOut, those calls are priced at zero price.) Note that this is currently in beta, so there may be issues — see below for details — but we’ve verified it works fairly well for us.
The following countries and number ranges are supported. We’re working on the rest of the world.
* **France**: +33 800, +33 805, +33 809
* **Poland**: +48 800
* **UK**: +44 500, +44 800, +44 808
* **USA**: +1 800, +1 866, +1 877, +1 888
]]>We think this is a fairly big thing.
If you’re a Skype user, here’s the deal. You can call the toll-free numbers in many countries even if you haven’t bought SkypeOut and don’t ever plan to. You can also use this to see that SkypeOut works well for you as a sort of “try before you buy at no risk”.
If you are a company or service provider who provides access to customers over the phone, it means you can accept global toll-free calls from users all over the world using the procedures and phone system that are already in place. (Well… you could do that also using the free Skype-to-Skype calls, but you may not want to, for various reasons. So we don’t push you, we believe in choice. Use whichever is more convenient for you.)
### How do I use it?
In Skype, just enter the number in international format in the Address Bar (start with +1 for USA, +44 for UK etc) and hit the big green button. Couldn’t be easier! You can also add the numbers to your contact list and call them “pizza”, “video rentals” or wherever else you’re calling. The free calls are effective immediately and supported on all platforms where the Skype client is available.
See the [SkypeOut Dialing Wizard](http://www.skype.com/products/skypeout/rates/dialing.html) if you need help dialing. (Since this is a very new change in the system, the dialing wizard may still show those calls being priced, even though they’re actually free. We’re updating the prices in the dialing wizard shortly.)
### Known issues
Now, there are some known issues with the whole thing. Help us fix these and let us know if you encounter anything more in [this forum thread](http://forum.skype.com/viewtopic.php?t=31953).
* Call quality degrades after you select a menu item for certain US phone numbers. This is because of a known issue with one of our phone service partners. Work is ongoing to fix the issue.
* The call length counter may not start immediately, and may only start mid-way through the call. This is a minor issue, as the call is free anyway.
* Certain US regional toll-free numbers are blocked. This is because the company being called only wants to accept calls from certain areas of the US, and is not able to determine where the Skype user is located since Skype is not transmitting the info at this time.