According to the results of the survey on my Tracfone squidoo page, by far the most popular reason that people gave for using prepaid wireless service was that it is cheaper per minute that other options. For those of you that fall into this category, you might also be interested to know that Skype is now offering unlimited calls to ANY US or Canadian phones for only $3 per month.
AND, through May 31, you can save another 33% off that price when you buy a 3 or 12-month subscription. That’s a pretty good deal, especially for people with prepaid phones, who don’t have the luxury of unlimited nights and weekend minutes as many post-paid plans do.
Maybe you’ve used Skype in the past to talk to another Skype user, and you both used your computers to talk to each other. In fact, Skype became famous for their “Talk on your computer” model. However, this is changing drastically as Skype has added 2 important elements. First, as noted above, Skype can now be used to make calls to “regular” phones – you’re no longer limited to talking to other Skype users.
The second important change is the proliferation of devices that are both high-quality and increasingly affordable, which allow Skype users to connect a regular phone to their account. In the past, a big drawback to using Skype was that you had to be sitting in front of your computer in order to use it, and your computer had to be turned on (obviously).
Now you have the option of purchasing a Skype handset, like this one for $90, that is basically a high-end cordless phone that works with Skype. You’ll then be “untethered” from your computer and can still communicate with your Skype contacts and make use of your SkypeOut calling. In fact, you can use this handset while your computer is not even turned on. And, as yet another added bonus, this particular model can also function as a landline handset. So hook up your high-speed internet to one port, and your landline phone cable to another port. Then your new Skype handset will ring whether it’s your landline phone or your Skype account that has an incoming call.
Okay, so maybe $90 is a lot of money to spend on a phone that you’re not even sure you’ll use. So, fist give Skype a try using your computer hardware, and decide whether you like the service. At this price, your risk is low. You might even decide it’s worthwhile to sign up for Skype just to have an extra phone line around the house.
If you decide you like Skype, maybe you’ll want to upgrade to a new handset. Plenty of options are available now, and more are on the way. From bluetooth headsets, to USB adapters, to wireless Skype phones, you’ll be able to take your pick.
Here’s just a quick story on my personal use of Skype: my sister-in-law recently moved to Peru, but took with her a laptop computer. In Peru she was able to get high-speed internet in her home, and we frequently use Skype to communicate via the webcams attached to each of our computers. In this case, our calls were completely free, since we were both on our computers. And my kids loved being able to talk to and wave, smile, and make funny faces at their beloved aunt, oblivious to the fact that she was thousands of miles away.
In our case, Skype really is making the world seem like a smaller place, and I encourage you to give it a try. It’s a great service, and yet another way you can save money on your communications expenses.
Another note to my loyal Tracfone readers: the new Motorola w175g is available in limited retail outlets, and I hope to find one over the holiday weekend so I can review it and report back to you. Stay tuned . . .