Skype-Out Will Cost $30/Year On Jan 31

Starting January 31st, 2007, Skype users placing calls to domestic numbers will pay an annual fee of $30 for unlimited usage.

The fee addition is still much less than the $25/month charged by some of its competitors, like Vonage, a service that also happens to suck fermented yak balls. — BEN POPKEN

Skype’s Free Phone Call Plan Will Soon Have Annual Fee [NYT]

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  1. Hawkins says:

    Oh, Vonage isn’t quite that bad. I admit that their customer service in general, and tech support in particular, is screamingly, painfully awful. But their telephone service is reasonably reliable, and usually doesn’t make people sound like alien robots.

    Which Skype often does.

  2. FLConsumer says:

    Screw that… I only pay $8/mo per line for ViaTalk which is a real SIP VoIP provider. So I have a real phone #, real Caller ID (Vonage still doesn’t have this and it comes with a telephone adapter, so I get to use it on my Nortel PBX in my house (I’m a phone snob, I know.) No huddling over the PC with a goofy $5 headset. MUCH better tech support than Vonage, better features, and they’re totally non-proprietary. I also have a softphone program on my laptop which lets me use my cell phone’s bluetooth headset with it.

  3. dancemonkey says:

    Never had a problem with Vonage, except when my internet goes down, which of course isn’t their fault. Same would be said of Skype. And agreed, who wants to huddle over their computer with a headset when they can use any standard phone they want?

    I don’t understand the comment about real caller ID – my phone gets the caller ID info, including the name of the person paying the bill, from the Vonage line. If that’s not “real” caller ID, then I’m not sure I even care what the difference is.

  4. Bokonon says:

    Vonage tried to scam me last week. I received a telemarketing call from them telling me that I was going to “get a second line for four months free, so let’s go ahead now and make sure we have your info correct in our system.” It was the form of scam in which they assert that you’re going to get something free, rather than asking, and fail to tell you that it’s going to cost something after the trial is over.

    Anyone know of any comparable VoIP providers? I’d like to get rid of them now–I can’t imagine how many elderly people were scammed by this, and I don’t want to give money to a company that engages in these scams.

  5. FLConsumer says:

    Real caller ID = both incoming & outgoing CallerID. Vonage still lacks outgoing CallerID. Worse, if you transferred your # into Vonage, you’re stuck with whatever the CallerID listing was at the time of the transfer. So, if your name changes or the info is incorrect, you’re stuck with it.

    Bokonon: Head over to DSLReports.com and poke around the reviews and message boards over there. I’ve tried: Vonage, SunRocket, Packet8, and Viatalk. Currently have Vonage and Viatalk. Vonage’s actual phone service isn’t bad, but their offshore customer service is just as bad (maybe even worse) than Verizon was. I’m about to dump Vonage because of: price, lack of features, and their insistence that you use propreitary (and crappy) equipment. I’ve been very pleased with Viatalk. Small company, all US-based. Add in the price difference and you can’t beat it.

  6. koath says:

    Your date is wrong. The $29.95 starts after Jan. 1st. It is $14.95 for the month of Jan.

    http://www.skype.com/products/skypeout/

  7. georget99 says:

    You don’t have to huddle over your computer wearing a headset to use Skype. I got a gadget on eBay that plugs into USB and has an RJ-11 on it so I can plug any regular phone into it. It rings, and i can dial from the keypad. Of course things still sound like Darth Vader at times.

    There are also Wi-Fi phones with the Skype client built in so all you need is to be near an access point.

  8. aeproberts says:

    I actually like the Vonage service. I much prefer the convenience and call quality to that of Skype. Plus it lets me call my relatives in Europe for free as well.

    I will second the fact that their customer service is terrible though. I have been with them for close to 3 years now and they refuse to upgrade my “box” to a newer one even though the technology has gotten much better over the years.

  9. Henri says:

    I signed up to continue SkypeOut for $14.95 for the year and my PayPal account was charged $16.95 due to Skype working in Euros.

    I wrote their billing department and asked for a $2.00 refund since they advertised in US dollars. I also asked if their software would have charged me less if the Euro value had slipped or if they were engaging in a practice that will end up costing the consumer on each transaction. Their acknowledgment said they would reply within 72 hours (maybe).

  10. dancemonkey says:

    “Real caller ID = both incoming & outgoing CallerID.”

    Thanks, though I’m still skeptical. I see full caller ID info when I get calls from home (and no, I’m not talking about on my cell phone where the address is already stored).

    In any event, YMMV for all services. I’m good on Vonage, though that USB dongle for Skype the prior poster mentioned has me wondering if a jump to Skype sometime isn’t in order… I think I might actually like sounding like pretending I’m talking to an alien robot!

  11. dancemonkey says:

    …or maybe just pretending like I’m talking to an alient robot, rather than sounding like pretending like it.

  12. You have a PBX at home?

  13. don’t judge. once you’ve sucked fermented yak, you’ll never go back.

  14. factotum says:

    Bokonon: I’m pretty certain that no elderly people use Vonage. My grandparents still can’t figure out their cell phone. It’s sometimes hard enough for the youngun’s to make Vonage work that they would have no phone if they had it.

  15. ChicoPenguin says:

    I’ve been using Vonage for almost a year now. It works great. Plus, I opted for the $14.95 per month service (500 minutes per month, which is way more than I use anyway). Never had a problem. If my Internet goes down, it automatically routes my calls to my cell phone. It’s also got a ton of free features that AT&T charged for.

  16. Amy Alkon says:

    What’s the device you got on eBay, george99? (What’s it called?)

    And PS This was a crappily written story. Are just domestic calls gonna cost? What’s the price if I’m in Paris? Does the reporter not understand that people travel, and rely on Skype when they do?

  17. Joe says:

    http://support.skype.com/?_a=knowledgebase&_j=subcat&_i=59

    should provide all the answers..

    Also – you CAN have your own number with SkypeIn..
    http://www.skype.com/products/skypein/

    agreed – Ben should have done his research before posting..

  18. loraksus says:

    Vonage tried the “we’re giving you 2 months of a second line free” bullshit with us as well. They called us something like 15 times which got really annoying. Cussing the CSR out finally ended the sales calls.

    Oh, and call their retention department if you want stuff like a new voip box. Tech support / billing for that company is completely and utterly useless, but I haven’t had to call them much.

    Sunriver does tend to have some decent promos, although I can’t speak to the quality of their service.

    My isp sucks, so I know I’ll have problems with any service…

  19. BeyondtheTech says:

    FYI, SkypeOut is $15 or $30 for the entire year. That does not include SkypeIn (incoming calls), which is a whole separate subscription price (don’t ask, I forget – go to the site and see for yourself). “All the other companies” charge $15-30 a month for unlimited incoming and outgoing.

  20. Henri says:

    Following up on my overcharge post for the SkypeOut annual fee:

    Skype got back to me in two weeks instead of a couple of days but were polite and contrite. They issued me vouchers for the the excess that I was charged, which show up as a credit on my account rather than a refund and I had to log on to their shop and enter the info. On the plus side, the vouchers totaled 30% more than the overcharge, so I am happy with them.

    If I could just get my ISP to allow me to have my DSL without requiring that I also have their landline phone, I would switch to SkypeIn.