Free to Low Cost Business and Communication Tools: Part 2: Skype

The internet continues to provide us with a vast array of communication tools. Competing heavily now with traditional landline telephone service is VoIP or “voice over internet protocol”.  This particular type of telephone service generally costs less and offers greater functionality. Chief among its benefits is the ability to receive calls wherever an internet connection is available. With a traditional landline you either have to be at the office or have your calls transferred to you. Not so with VoIP. As long as you are online and receiving service from a VoIP provider you can receive and make calls from anywhere in the world.

One of the most reliable and flexible services I have experienced is Skype, a company started in the UK back in 2003.  The beauty of the service is it is free and works great (low cost depending on your calling needs).  The service is made available to anyone who downloads the platform onto a laptop, desktop and/or web-enabled iPhone or Smartphone device etc.

“Skype to Skype” calls are free.  Just like an IM service, you add people to your ‘Contacts’ using the Skype name they created. Conversely you share your Skype name with them. You are then able to communicate with anyone in your ‘Contacts’ by clicking to place a call to them through the application. If you have a web cam you also have the option to place a video call.  The video service is surprisingly good and since web cam are so inexpensive now, it’s a world different to have an acceptable video conference compared to just a few years ago.

Pricing is very reasonable and options can be reviewed here.

You can also opt to pay-as-you-go using pre-paid Skype Credit. If you wish to have an assigned telephone number to use for business, for a nominal fee of $60 US per year (as of Dec 2009) you can purchase a telephone number containing your local area code (depending on availability) that even comes with free voice mail and all the great calling features such as video calls.

If you have basic communication needs that don’t require a sophisticated telephone system then this is the service for you!

You can download Skype service for free onto all your compatible web-enabled devices.


  1. Free and low cost calling plans including country-specific subscriptions or pay-as-you-go Skype Credit
  2. Free Skype to Skype calls
  3. Free instant messaging
  4. Free video calls
  5. Call phones and mobiles, send SMS
  6. Voicemail
  7. Forward calls to a phone when you are offline
  8. Screen sharing (new to Skype 4.1 – a feature I haven’t tried yet)
  9. Multiple platforms including Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Windows Mobile, iPhone, and others

10.  Relatively Secure

11.  Available 24/7 worldwide


Like all VoIP services, calls are only as good and reliable as your internet connection; however, voicemail and all missed calls are kept safely by the application and are available whenever you are once again able to access them online.

Join me for Part 3 when I talk a bit about free to low cost web conferencing.

One thought on “Free to Low Cost Business and Communication Tools: Part 2: Skype

  1. I tried the free version for video calling with some colleagues and it worked like a charm. Great way to keep people who work from home feeling like a part of the team. Thanks for the post.

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