With the economy the way it is and me constantly struggling to trim the fat from my website company’s annual expenses, I’ve started to look into voice over IP (VoIP) options for my telephone needs. Currently, I have a cell phone and a land line that are both paid for by the website company. In an ideal world, I wouldn’t spend nearly $100 per month on a ridiculous cell phone plan that requires me to purchase broadband access. Without the broadband access, I’d be able to reduce my monthly cell phone bill by a little over $30. That’s significant enough to warrant further research, but it’s not the impetus for this entry on the blog!Instead, the impetus for this blog entry is the fact that I pay $39.03 each month for my land line phone – a phone that I use sparingly. Actually, if I use that phone for more than 50 minutes per month, I’d be surprised. Every once in a while I have a conference call that I need to call in to when I’m working at my home office, but it appears that I can still get on those calls if I have a VoIP service.
Which brings me to Skype. On my recent trip to Nashville, I was talking to one of my fellow Board Trustees told me about Skype’s effectiveness and cost efficiencies. From our conversation, I went on Facebook and asked whether anyone had any ideas or comments about the Skype product. These are some of the comments that I received from my Facebook buddies:
it essentially is like aol instant messenger with more options. You can make phone calls around the world, and also do video chats.. I use it for work a lot. Skype can also be added to some phones to make free phone calls if u have a skype account.
just remember that when your network or electric goes out… so does skype… However if you have a cel at home too… maybe not necessary.. also at times the quality is “Iffy” but as a positive, you can also do video calls…
Skype is wonderful. I talk to people all over the world, conference calls all for free!!
Get a Skype enabled phone and you can benefit from VoIP at home or even just sync your Bluetooth headset to your laptop and walk around making calls. I’ve used it while traveling overseas and it was a great cost saver.
Skype is sweet because its free and you can communicate with someone from long distance instantly.
All of this is good information. Based off of these seemingly good reviews, I did some more research and found out that I can get a yearly subscription to Skype for $30. That subscription will allow me to have unlimited calls in the United States and Canada (unlike my buddies on Facebook, I don’t make international calls because, well, I don’t know anybody outside of the United States!). I also found out that I can get an “online” telephone number for about $30 per year (after discounts). This would allow people to call my Skype account from their land line or cell phones.
On top of that, in order to get the maximum use out of Skype I’d have to get a webcam (though I really don’t foresee a need for me to make video calls, but who knows). I have a microphone and stereo headset already, so I don’t really need those items (but I’d probably buy new stuff anyway). On the low end of the hardware necessity, I could potentially spend nothing and just use my existing microphone and stereo headset. If I wanted to just get a mid level webcam, I could spend $20. Or I could go for the total package and get top of the line stuff for over $100.
Hardware costs aside, moving from my land line to Skype would reduce my annual telephone expenses from $468.36 with Comcast’s land line to about $60 with Skype. That’s a pretty significant drop for a very small business.
With all of that said – can anyone reading this blog entry out there on the interwebs offer some advice on whether or not I should move to Skype or a different VoIP service? I’m interested in reading your thoughts!