It’s tough to beat the value of free Skype-to-Skype calls. But many of our small business users also want to call people who aren’t on Skype, and that’s where they have a few alternatives.
Skype charges a small fee to call landlines and mobile phones, and there are a few ways to go about that. Spending a few minutes assessing your calling needs and habits ensures you’ll get the option that works best for you.
Skype offers three basic payment options for calls to regular phones:
- Pay As You Go (PAYG): Simply purchase credit for your Skype account, and every time you make a call, Skype deducts a little for a connection fee and for each minute the call lasts (per-minute rates vary by destination, and start around $.02).
You can arrange to automatically refill your account when it’s depleted so you’ll never run out of credit in the middle of a call. You can connect a credit card, PayPal or Skrill (Moneybooker) to your account for those auto-recharges.
- Country-Specific Subscriptions: Pre-pay for a monthly allowance of minutes to use on calls to a specific country (say, to the UK, Brazil, Russia or India). Subscriptions come in increments of 60, 120 or 400 minutes. The per-minute savings are as much as 50% off PAYG rates (connection fees are also waived in all subscriptions), and plans start at around $1 per month, varying by country and number of minutes included.
- Unlimited Regional or Global Subscriptions: Purchase a monthly plan that allows you to make unlimited calls to regional destinations (you choose Europe or North America) or to global destinations (Unlimited World plans include up to 42 countries). Plans start at about $3.
Your unique calling needs will dictate the best value for you. If all your calls are to one country, and they total between 60 and 400 minutes per month, it’s a no-brainer: get a country-specific subscription.
But if you call multiple countries, you may need to do a little analysis to figure out which option (or combination) saves you the most.
Here’s a slightly more complex example: a US-based small-business owner uses PAYG for her sporadic calls to Australia; she buys a country-specific subscription to cover her weekly calls to Brazil; and she has an unlimited North America subscription to pay for the calls she makes several times a day to people in America and Canada.
Based on her calling behavior, that combination gives her the most bang for the buck.
When you’re calculating your overall calling costs with Skype, there are a few other things to keep in mind. For example, calling mobiles can be more expensive than calling landlines, so some subscriptions cost more if you choose the versions that include mobile-phone calling.
Given all these considerations, you may need a little help figuring out how to get the best value, and our solutions team is happy to help. You can contact them by visiting http://direct.skype.com/.