Farewell SkypeOut
December 13, 2006 1:15 PM   Subscribe

Now that Skype is cutting off it's free service, what free alternatives are available?
posted by Sufi to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You can still call other Skype users for free. It was calling regular telephone numbers (in USA and Canada) that was a limited-time thing.

Are you looking for a phone service that will give you free long distance indefinitely?
posted by winston at 1:33 PM on December 13, 2006

Response by poster: Winston I would need computer to landline long distance calling inside the US.
posted by Sufi at 1:45 PM on December 13, 2006

As far as I know, Skype is still the best deal.
posted by winston at 1:48 PM on December 13, 2006

Yeah, isn't the plan $15 if bought before the end of January? I'll be purchasing that and a SkypeIn number to replace my cell phone of evil.
posted by hominid211 at 2:11 PM on December 13, 2006

There's Jajah but it works a little differently. It's a phone-to-phone service with a computer intermediary. You might like it. I gotta say that Skype's offer of $15 for a year of free phone calls sounds eminently reasonable.
posted by boaz at 2:19 PM on December 13, 2006

It seems Vonage has several issues.
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:22 PM on December 13, 2006

that sucks. I didn't realize they were cutting it off.

I just checked the gizmo project. I thought they had a similar deal before, but I might be wrong. Now they're offering free calls to any mobile or landline that is registered with another gizmo user.
posted by nazca at 2:26 PM on December 13, 2006

Eh, I just realized that Jajah's charging for calls to non-Jajah users now. Meh. There's also Gizmo, which charges a penny a minute to USA numbers. If you're a low-volume caller, that might be a better deal.
posted by boaz at 2:28 PM on December 13, 2006

If you're willing to jump through some hoops or pay a bit, check out Gizmo.

After about a year of using Skype and Gizmo on a daily basis, I've had far fewer issues with Gizmo (including better audio quality). FYI: This on a G5 running OS X 10.4 with a cable connection, YMMV.
posted by -t at 2:31 PM on December 13, 2006

What was previously free is now $15 for an unlimited year. I would guess you'll spend more than $15 of your time looking for any free alternative.
posted by mathowie at 2:44 PM on December 13, 2006

May I remind everyone that before Skype was free for the US and Canada, it was about $0.01 a minute that you had to buy in $20 increments or so. Strangely, just as I ran out of airtime, they went to the free thing.

$15 for a whole year is a sweet deal. I need to get a new microphone then because that's a pretty sweet deal, as my cell phone is costing me waaaaay too much.

Anyways, to answer the question though: Skype is still probably your best bet, even though it costs a little bit of money now. I used Skype when it was the penny a minute or so and it was definately worth it.
posted by champthom at 3:41 PM on December 13, 2006

Skype is owned by Ebay. And if you know anything about how Ebay operates, you ought not be surprised if the rule of the game change when it is least expected. My personal take (and also that of many stock analysts) is that Ebay paid far, far too much for Skype. If true, Ebay will look to users to dig them out. Ask any serious Ebay seller how Ebay is treating them. I personally will go with Gizmo. JMHO.
posted by toucano at 7:45 PM on December 13, 2006

-t: I used Gizmo for a long time - I definitely prefer the user interface. But, on a Powerbook G4 with more bandwidth than you can shake a stick at, Skype gave me better sound (or rather, gave the person I was calling better sound more consistently).

I might go back and try Gizmo again when the free period is up, though. And it's definitely my reserve option for when Ebay realizes, as toucano said, that they paid too much.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 9:01 PM on December 13, 2006

The lowest price I'm aware of for US long distance is about half a cent a minute (VoicePulse Connect), and that's only good to some destinations, others are about a cent a minute, so it sounds like Skype may still be the best deal out there. The cheapest flat rate I know if is 1.1c/min, but I haven't looked in a while.

I'm just wondering how they can afford to pay settlement for $15 a year unlimited. I guess they expect you to call cheap destinations and spend less than 600 minutes a month on the phone.
posted by wierdo at 12:06 AM on December 14, 2006

wierdo writes "spend less than 600 minutes a month on the phone"

A pretty good bet probably. The LD companies around here were offering "unlimited" long distance plans a few years ago where unlimited meant 400-600 minutes a month. And once you get used to using your computer to make calls you might start using them for toll calls.
posted by Mitheral at 10:13 AM on December 14, 2006

And if you know anything about how Ebay operates, you ought not be surprised if the rule of the game change when it is least expected.

I am perplexed that anyone finds this to be unexpected when their materials have all said "free through the end of the year" since the day they started this promotion. This has been a limited time offer from the first moment they started it.

If you use 1 minutes a day that's 365 minutes in a year. Divide $14.95 by that and you get 4.1 cents a minute. 5 minutes a day and you're under a penny a minute.

I'm with #1. How much cheaper could you possibly manage?
posted by phearlez at 1:04 PM on December 14, 2006

I haven't tried either of these yet but the only free alternatives I can find are icall and voipbuster.
Voipbuster is only free to landlines but costs $0.01 per minute to cell phones. The call quality is supposed to be better than skype. Icall is free to both but from what I have heard the quality is not great. So choose your poison... As there is nothing else free that I can dig up.
posted by D Wiz at 1:38 AM on December 19, 2006

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