The great thing about SkypeOut is that you can make calls to people anywhere in the world at local rates, and you can make calls also while on the move.
How it works?
If you want to make SkypeOut calls, you purchase calling credit (counted in minutes), similar to calling cards. Thus, you can call anyone, whether that person has a Skype account or not.
Just dial the phone number of the person you want to call using the Skype softphone interface and speak. The other person will not even know whether you are calling her using Skype.
Technically, Skype channels all SkypeOut calls to gateways, which then directs the calls to the PSTN or cell phone services. So, what you are paying for is the renting fee of the gateways.
How much does it cost?
Very cheap. There is the global rate and the local and the rate to other destinations. The global rate is a unified rate for some of the most popular destinations, including Argentina (Buenos Aires), Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Canada (mobiles), Chile, China (Beijing, Guanzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen), China (mobiles), Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hong Kong (mobiles), Ireland, Italy, Mexico (Mexico City, Monterrey), Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland (Poland, Gdansk, Warsaw), Portugal, Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg), Singapore, Singapore (mobiles), South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan (Taipei), United Kingdom and United States (except Alaska and Hawaii).
The global rate is 0.017 per minute, which is approximately the same as $ 0.021 or £ 0.012.
For other destinations, there are other different rates. The list is huge. Check it here.
Note that you should add VAT percentage to your cost if your billing address is in the European Union.
You should also note that, emergency calls are not possible with Skype. If you dial 911, you will not be connected. Skype says it clearly, Skype is not a telephony replacement service and cannot be used for emergency dialing.