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Use Skype as Your Home Phone

Making Calls With Skype Instead of Your Home Phone

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Older Caucasian woman video-chatting with granddaughter
Colin Anderson/Blend Images/Getty Images

Can Skype replace your residential landline home phone service? Not completely. Besides, completely removing your home phone service and replacing it with Skype is not a good idea. But if you receive heavy monthly bills, then one of the many existing solutions to cut down the cost would be to consider using Skype for your calls instead of abusing of the landline phone (or letting the landline telco abuse on you).

VoIP is the way to go, but which VoIP? You could of course select one of the residential VoIP services out there, which are better replacements for landline phone systems. You don’t actually need to be glued to a computer with these services, as Skype required. Or you could use a no-monthly bill service like Ooma or MagicJack. But things have evolved and Skype can save you the hassle of installing phone adapters and other hardware. You could be using your mobile phone to make calls, and make them much cheaper than using the traditional home phone.

Why are we considering Skype instead of the residential VoIP services? The latter have insurmountable advantages, but Skype has the advantage of being cheaper for the month and is quicker is setting up (you could be up and running in minutes), if of course you are ready to accept the tweaks. As a matter of comparison, Vonage turns around the $25 while unlimited Skype calling for a whole month costs around $7. On the other, you need to initially invest around $240 for the Ooma hardware.

What You Need

Now, make sure you have a good Internet connection. I would suggest a Wi-Fi hotspot at home. Even if this sounds Greek to you, it is something quite simple. ADSL Internet providers offer free Wi-Fi routers along with their service. You could also buy one, connect it to your ADSL router, and have it shower Wi-Fi signals out of your Internet box all over your house and garden.

Then you need a mobile phone that works with Wi-Fi. An iPhone would do, as would an Android phone, or any phone that can support the Skype app. You can then use that phone to make VoIP (Skype) calls wherever you get Wi-Fi signals at home. That’s another improvement over the home phone – you get to move around while talking, plus you get to take advantage of the interesting features and comfort of a smartphone.

How to Do It

Install the Skype app on your mobile device. Here is an article on how to download and install Skype on different platforms and devices. And here is a video on how to use Skype. Then configure your device such that you can use it over Wi-Fi to make and receive calls. We are still in the free domain so far.

Now, register for a monthly Skype subscription. You can do so on that page. Say you live in the US. Your home phone would allow you to make and receive calls within the US. Skype allows you to select one country and make and receive unlimited calls within that country. So select United States and register for it. You pay only $7 per month for unlimited calls within the US. You pay some bucks more for extended calls to a number of worldwide destinations. Now, each time you need to make a call, use your mobile phone and your Wi-Fi connection with your Skype credit.

You can still use your home phone to receive calls. Don’t get rid of the landline, as it helps with emergency calls, and as a spare phone service. Note that Skype does not allow 911 calls.

If you want to receive calls on your mobile phone and on Skype, you need to get yourself a phone number from Skype. It costs $60 a year, that is $5 a month. It is called an online number, which you can get from there. It allows you to pick up a call from just anyone wherever you are in the world, as long as you have a connection to the Internet.

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