Then I came across Skype! Could it be the answer to my prayers?!?! The service is 2.95/mo for outgoing calls (or 23.60 for a 12 mo subscription=$1.96/mo), and 2.00 for a 12 mo subscription to a telephone number to receive calls (or 12.00 for 3 months if you want shorter term).
I have heard of this service for webcam usage, from when hubby was in the Air Force, but never looked into it since we weren't using webcam. Then I came across another blog the other day that mentioned that they used skype to save on their bill. So I started to investigate.
Here is what I found out. Skype is similar to Vonage. It is a VoIP (voice over IP) It uses your Internet connection to make telephone calls. Think...vocal email. You can communicate to other skype members free of charge. Just download the link from their site, and your friend or family can do the same, and you can talk all you want! I would really love to get all of my family in Michigan connected...especially with a webcam (which can be bought for about 20.00 at WalMart) so that we could chat whenever we want! I also have some family oversees. A cousin in Brazil already uses skype, and speaks frequently on it via webcam to us in the states.
Some of the drawbacks...
- biggest is that you cannot access 911 with skype.
- having a DSL connection is preferred over dialup for the best clarity (But not necessary)
- telephone connection is a little tricky...
- option 1- a headset, with microphone-cord connected to your computer- 14.99 at WalMart
- option 2- a corded handset, also connected via USB in computer-about 30 at WalMart
- option 3- a cordless DUAL (skype and landline) phone, but still the base is connected to USB- WalMart-69.99
All of the above options depend on a TURNED ON computer in order to make or receive calls. Although, if a call comes in while your computer is turned off, the caller ID and Voicemail still function, so you can check it later.
The last option is the priciest, but most flexible. Skype sell a phone on their site, the Phillips VoIP841 that is cordless, and just plugs into you computers modem. Since the modem is ALWAYS on, then so is your skype connection. This phone is 139.99.
Our family chose option 3 for now. After our test run, I will strongly consider the last option for its flexibility.
So here is the breakdown of our savings...including the cost of the phone.
Current AT&T UVerse All Pro-40.00
Wire Pro Insurance -6.00
Taxes & Surcharges 9.00
Cost per year 660.00
AT& T Basic service (NO EXTRAS)
Tax & Surcharges about 3.05
Cost per Year 240.00
12 mo Subscription SkypeIn -24.00
12 mo Subscription SkypeOut 23.60
Skype Cordless Phone + Tax 75.76
TOTAL FOR 1 YR OF SERVICE=123.36
Price per Month------------------$10.28