SkypeOut allows Skype users to call traditional telephone numbers, including mobile telephones, for a fee. This fee is as low as US$ 0.021 per minute for most developed countries, and as high as US$ 2.142 per minute for calls to the dependency of Diego Garcia. Beginning January 2007, Skype also charges an equivalent of 0.039 Euro for each SkypeOut call, in addition to the ordinary rate. After 180 days of not making a SkypeOut call the Skype balance expires. As of 30 January 2007, SkypeOut calls to Canada and the United States are no longer free.
SkypeOut calls to most toll free numbers in France (+33 800, +33 805, +33 809) , Poland: (+48 800) , UK: (+44 500, +44 800, +44 808 ) and the United States and Canada: (+1 800, +1 866, +1 888 ) are free for all Skype users, even if they do not have the SkypeOut service.. However, for many other countries SkypeOut doesn’t support calling toll-free and premium rate numbers, and SkypeOut doesn’t support calling emergency numbers (such as 1-1-2 in Europe or 911 in the United States).
Quality of service is not guaranteed, and drop-outs, broken connections and compression distortion are frequently observed by users.
Skype advertises a feature on its Web site to allow users to set the Caller ID for outgoing calls to normal telephone numbers. Set-up verification involves sending an SMS text message to a selected mobile phone number, then typing that verification code into a Web form. Since most regular home and business telephones cannot receive text messages, this feature is only available to owners of cell phones. However, according to discussions on Skype’s user forums and other forums on the Internet, SMS messaging from Skype’s system has not been working correctly in various locales since at least June 2008. Although Skype maintains that the problem has been corrected, SMS continues to be inoperative as recently as July 2009 in the United States and Canada. During the verification process, the Skype Web site makes it appear as if a text message has been sent to the user’s mobile phone, and an appropriate fee is deducted from the user’s Skype credit balance, but no text messages are actually received on the phone. Since many individuals and business refuse incoming telephone calls whose Caller ID has been blocked, this hampers the utility of Skype in calling normal telephone numbers.
Subscriptions – Unlimited calling plans and fees
On 19 December 2006, Skype announced that there would be a new pricing structure in 2007. Details on a new scheme were released 18 January 2007. The initial press release was vague about the new scheme, but it did reveal that there may be a new connection fee.
In January 2007, Skype launched a prepaid Unlimited call subscription service for North American customers. Skype’s Unlimited calling offers a full year of Unlimited calls to anyone, on any phone, within the U.S. and Canada for a one-time fee. This plan which was called Skype Pro only allowed the unlimited calls that were made from inside North America. As of April 21, 2008, these plans were changed to the new calling subscription plans, which don’t require the calls to start from a certain country. Under the current plans, there is a Unlimited US & Canada plan for $ 2.95 or 1.95 per month, an Unlimited Country plan for $ 5.95 or 3.95 per month, and an Unlimited World plan for $ 12.95 or 8.95 per month.
Limitations on “Unlimited” subscription services
Skype offers several monthly plans that it calls “Unlimited”. However, these services are indeed subject to several limitations. Skype limits “unlimited” subscriptions to 10,000 minutes per month, six hours per day, and 50 telephone numbers per day. If any of these restrictions are exceeded, any additional calls are billed at regular rates and connection fees.
SkypeIn (Online Numbers)
SkypeIn (beta) allows Skype users to receive calls on their computers dialed by regular phone subscribers to a local Skype phone number. It permits users to subscribe to numbers in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
For example, a user in San Francisco could create a local telephone number in Helsinki. Callers from Helsinki would pay only local rates to call that number.
Skype Voicemail was released on March 10, 2005. This service allows callers to leave voice-mail messages for Skype users who are indisposed. This is currently a service that users have to pay for, though the company Kishkish provides a Skype voicemail service for free.
Skype Voicemail had experienced numerous problems over the past year and users complain that many voice mail calls are never received. Additionally, the SkypeIn service occasionally failed to record certain incoming calls on the program’s history page.
Skype for Linux Voicemail Click on the small clock Icon to open history and anything with a black phone headset icon is voicemail.
Skype supports group text chat with an interface similar to IRC with 150 People.
The Macintosh version used to use the same message view style format as Adium, though with a different filename extension. Message view styles made for Adium could be installed for Skype, and they did not even need to be renamed. There were a couple of cosmetic bugs, but ignoring those, Adium styles worked without modification. This feature is not present in the Windows, Linux, and Pocket PC versions of Skype. This feature has been discontinued starting with Skype 184.108.40.206.
Skype let users set their presence indicator to “Skype Me!” in earlier versions of Skype software. It invited calls from strangers. Setting one’s status to Skype Me attracts a number of callers who want to practice a foreign language (usually English), in addition to the expected scammers and spammers. This feature has been discontinued starting with Skype 4.
Skype video calling
On Microsoft Windows (DirectX 9.0 or above required), Mac OS X and Linux, Skype 2.0 (and above) supports video calling. Skype currently only supports one-to-one video chat; more than two parties are allowed to talk, but three or more video feature is not supported, neither is making video calls to non-Skype cell phones. Hence, only audio, not video, is available for teleconferencing.
High-definition video is available publicly in Windows with Skype 3.6.
Skypecasting was released on May 3, 2006. Skypecasts are live, moderated conversations allowing groups of up to 100 people to converse, moderated by the “host” who is able to mute, eject or pass the virtual microphone to participants when they wish to speak. Skypecasts do not support chat windows to share text information (such as URLs) with participants. The Skypecast feature is missing in Skype for Linux, but a user can join a Skypecast conversation simply by dialing the Skypecast’s code with SkypeOut. The user will then have somewhat limited capabilities, such as not seeing the others in a conversation ‘room’.
On August 26, 2008, Peter Parkes announced that Skypecasts will be discontinued at 12 noon BST on Monday September 1, 2008. Parkes, a Cambridge economics graduate who works for ‘we are social’, a conversation agency in London, also writes to the Skype blog. On August 27 he added detail to this announcement in another blog posting .
The discontinuation announcement was revealed only on these two blog postings and not on Skype.com, the Skypecasts directory page nor other sources. Therefore the end to Skypecasts were thought by some to be an elaborate hoax. At 12 noon BST, Skypecasts were still running but after around 2 hours they ended and on Skypecasts Directory it says ‘Skypecasts unavailable’.
In Skype 4.0 Beta, Skypecasts did not work even before the discontinuation announcement. There is no ‘Live’ Tab and when you could access the listings in the directory and tried to enter a Skypecasts a message came up after a dialing tone was heard say: ‘Failed’ (or a similar message).
In late 2009 the company, Skype for Power Gamers (S4PG), announced that in Q2 2010 it would be releasing both a client and server Skype Add-on that will enable Skype end-users to host their own “Skypecast-like” auto-conference rooms.
Some Skype clients can send SMS messages to mobile phone numbers (a feature commonly used in other IM software such as ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and Windows Live Messenger). By default the message will be received with the first 11 digits of the sender’s Skype username shown (in the US, China, and Taiwan, Skype will instead display a “generic, pre-defined number” as the Sender ID) with no direct reply available; otherwise it can be set to appear to have originated from a verified mobile number, allowing the recipient to reply as normal to that number. Costs are generally cheaper than standard SMS charges; for example Skype’s UK rate per SMS message including VAT is 6.4p, compared to standard rates of 10p or 12p; for international SMS costs will be significantly cheaper using Skype. When the recipient of the message is in roaming, the message may not be delivered, however modifying the cell numbers country code to the desired region can sometimes alleviate this problem.
Skype web toolbar
The Skype Web Toolbar recognizes phone and Skype numbers, and is available only for Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox on Windows. Such numbers on web pages are replaced with an icon that can be clicked to call the number using Skype, or right-clicked to provide further options, such as adding the number to Skype’s contacts list. Skype requests confirmation that an outgoing call should proceed after such a link is clicked.
The Skype Web Toolbar is programmed to detect telephone numbers within a web page. The detection algorithm is good, but sometimes it will format non-telephone numbers incorrectly. By using a meta tag and specific html coding on their site, the web site developer can improve the accuracy and control the Skype Web Toolbar.
Skype Zones Beta is software powered by Boingo that provides access to Skype through Skype-friendly hot spots.
Skype history logs
A log file is created for each contact on a user’s contact list. Log files are stored locally, meaning they are not available if a user switches computers. By default, the option to log conversations is disabled, but can be enabled in the tools / privacy panel.
SkypeFind is a community-generated directory in Skype 3.1.
Skype Prime is a beta feature in Skype 3.1. It allows users to call lines that charge per minute, usually for advice on a particular topic. The service is available for Windows (for caller and service providers) and for Macintosh (for callers only), whereas the feature is missing on Skype for Linux.
Recently a number of manufactures have launched hardware devices compatible with Skype. These are usually either tethered to a PC, or have a built-in Wi-Fi client to allow calling from Wi-Fi hotspots like the Netgear SPH101 Skype Wi-Fi Phone, the SMC WSKP100 Skype Wi-Fi Phone, the Belkin F1PP000GN-SK Wi-Fi Skype Phone, the Panasonic KX-WP1050 Wi-Fi Phone for Skype Executive Travel Set and the Linksys CIT200 Wi-Fi Phone. There are also embedded cordless Skype phones based on DECT, which do not need a PC either, like the DUALphone 3088 from RTX. Netgear and SMC’s Wi-Fi phones are considered the two major competitors in the market, with reviews of the Wi-Fi phones giving them equal coverage.
The Skype Wi-Fi Phone is a wireless mobile phone that allows users to make free Internet calls to anyone who has Skype, anytime there is a Wi-Fi wireless Internet connection. The Skype Wi-Fi Phone has an on-screen menu that lets Skype users see who is online and available to talk, similar to what is seen on a PC. It can also be used to talk with non-Skype users. SkypeOut minutes can be used to call any phone for a low price and no monthly fee. The Skype Wi-Fi phone does not contain a web browser therefore can not access hotspots, which require web-based login or authentication.
Version 3.0 adds the ability to connect and talk to other users without actually being in a conference. In this mode, the user can talk to multiple users without those users having the ability to communicate with each other. Since there is no conference window, the user using invisible calling must have the user they are connected to end the call or exit Skype entirely to disconnect.
Skype version 3.0 and above provides additional tools under the “Do More” Submenu. The Skype Extras listing is also accessible via https://extras.skype.com. Examples of third-party add-ons include the ‘Pamela’ voice recorder for recording voice calls, Unyte desktop sharing, plus many games.
A service by fring enables Skype, ICQ MSN .NET Messenger Service and GoogleTalk users to transparently use their respective programs with full access to contacts, chat, talk and presence capabilities.
Additionally, the web-based services Skax and Pamfax allows Skype users to send faxes, at a low cost per page, to any telephone numbers worldwide.
It was mentioned above that Skype stores chat history only locally, G-Recorder tool adds “Cloud” capabilities to Skype by recording chats and voice calls to Gmail.
PocketSkype is a freeware software that allows users to make Skype voice calls using their Wi-Fi enabled Microsoft Windows Mobile Pocket PC. PocketSkype is a thin version of Skype and developed specifically for PDA devices and any mobile software. It helps people to make free, unlimited, and unmetered calls. PocketSkype was made to give users more choice and flexibility. PocketSkype retains the same core of regular skype software and it works on any PDA running Windows Mobile Pocket PC 2003 OS with a 400 MHz processor and equipped with Wi-Fi.
Under Windows, Skype can be run directly from a USB memory stick without being installed on the host computer. On Mac OS X, installation on the host computer is never required.
Voice over IP
Comparison of VoIP software
^ “Connection Fee for SkypeOut Calls”. skype.com. http://www.skype.com/products/skypeout/rates/connection_fee.html. Retrieved 2007-01-19.
^ Free calls to toll-free phone numbers global beta – Skype Blogs
^ Support Help – Skype tells me the number I am trying to call is forbidden, why is that?
^ Support Help – Skype to announce disruptive pricing strategy for SkypeOut
^ Skype – Unlimited Calls Plans
^ a b c Villu Arak. “Four new SkypeIn countries”. Skype Blogs. http://share.skype.com/sites/en/2007/06/four_new_skypein_countries.html. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
^ “Adding chat styles to Skype”. blodspot.com. http://domainofthebored.blogspot.com/2006/02/adding-chat-styles-to-skype.html. Retrieved 2006-06-13.
^ “Adium message styles and Skype (1 updates)”. Soeren Says. http://chucker.mystfans.com/2006/02/27/adium-message-styles-and-skype.entry. Retrieved 2006-06-13.
^ The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > Internet Phone Service Creating Chatty Network
^ Skype Community > Skypecasts on Skype for Linux
^ NETGEAR Skype WiFi Phone – -
^ fring adds support for ICQ users
^ Skype VoIP User Guide, FAQ, Hints and Resources”How to run Skype from a USB stick”. http://www.VoIP-Download.com/Skype.htm#USB.
Categories: Skype | Software features | Teleconferencing | VideotelephonyHidden categories: Articles with obsolete information