Replacing Skype?
August 19, 2012 8:50 AM   Subscribe

I use call forwarding, Skype-to-go, and Skype online numbers extensively. Recently they changed their cost scheme. What can I use to replace it?

I live in the Netherlands. My parents live in the US. My brother lives in Australia. Using Skype has allowed me to set up a Skype online numbers in all three countries so that anyone can call me at no cost to them, and I use Skype forwarding to forward the calls to where ever I am. I travel quite a bit. I pay for an unlimited subscription for 19-ish Euros a month, and use the included Skype credit to pay for the online numbers. I also use Skype-to-go numbers when I'm travelling internationally so that I can make free calls from where I am.

Recently, they changed something so that I can no longer buy my Dutch online number with Skype credit. This changes the cost significantly, because 1) I have a bunch of Skype credit that will go unused, and 2) I have to pay EXTRA, on top of my subscription, to buy the Dutch online number. On top of that, Skype's recent buyout by MS and their security record has me down on Skype.

So, what can I use to replace it? Are there any services like Skype that offer all the features? Can I do things piecemeal, from different providers? I can pay for/install hardware, if needed.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

For Denmark google "Denmark DID"
posted by yoyo_nyc at 12:02 PM on August 19, 2012

To expand on the above, you can roll your own equivalent service using VOIP accounts with inbound numbers in the desired areas (direct inward dial numbers, or DIDs). These are typically available in monthly or per minute versions and use the SIP and RTSP protocols. You would need a software client ("soft phone") on your smartphone or computer, as with Skype. Alternatively, you can use an analog telephone adapter (ATA) and a physical analog phone.

Getting fancier you can run you own phone server, probably on a hosted server account. The PBX in A Flash distribution of Asterisk and FreePBX is a good choice. If you do that, you can set up an entirely private system if you want, giving your family privately numbered extensions and accounts on your server for use with a soft phone or ATA (or just using it as the endpoint for your DIDs and supporting your own devices as multiple extensions, or a hybrid approach...)
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:22 PM on August 19, 2012

Suppose I installed ddwrt and asterisk on my router. What hardware would I need for the phone part? I see VoIP phones for purchase; do those just act as clients with the asterisk server?
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 11:32 AM on August 23, 2012

You would use ATAs, on your LAN with regular phones plugged in (or disconnect your home's wiring from the PSTN and use an ATA to provide service to multiple existing jacks--up to that ATA's electrical/ringer capacity (which is sometimes hard to discern). Or, yes, there are VOIP native desktop and handheld phones that will attach directly to the LAN (wired or wifi) and have a built in SIP client.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:20 PM on August 24, 2012

Got it. I ordered a set of VoIP phones. The ATAs were less expensive, but I wanted a phone upgrades anyway. Thanks!
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 11:25 PM on August 26, 2012

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