Thursday, September 30, 2010

Economic Considerations on Skype

Your regular and mobile phone bill is normally made up of two parts: cost of calls, and fixed charges and taxes. You can use Skype to reduce the overall cost of your phone calls, and reduce—in some cases even eliminate—your fixed charges and taxes.
The cost of an individual call is the duration of the call, measured in minutes (and sometimes fractions thereof), multiplied by the call rate. For example, a 7 minute call at a call rate of 5 cents per minute will cost you 35 cents. The lower the call rate for a given destination, the lower your cost of calls to that destination. You can use Skype’s very low per minute call rates to save money on your overall cost of calls.
Over the years, most people have seen their phone bills accumulate lots of fixed charges and taxes. Indeed, before I switched to Skype, fixed charges and taxes amounted to 56 percent of my regular telephone bill! Some taxes relate to your cost of calls and so decline as your cost of calls decrease. But most are truly fixed, in the sense that even if you don’t make a single call during any given month, you still have to pay them. To eliminate the fixed charges and taxes, you’d need to reduce the number of phone lines entering your home or eliminate them altogether. By using Skype you can do this and so avoid many fixed charges and taxes—and it’s all legal!

Connecting Skype Access Point

Once you’ve located an access point, it’s time to connect to Skype Zones. First, make sure you are running the Skype Zones client program (Start: All Programs: Skype Zones: Skype Zones). When you run
Skype Zones and are in range of a Skype Zones access point, a window should pop up that invites you to sign in to the Skype Zones network. Alternatively, you can open the Skype Zones client (right-click on the Skype Zones icon in the Windows system tray and choose Open Skype Zones), and then click on the link Available Signals.
This should display the Available Wireless Networks page in the Skype Zones client. To connect to a specific access point, simply click on the blue Connect button opposite the desired wireless network name. To disconnect, just click on the green Connected button. If the wireless access point is part of the Skype Zones network, you will be prompted to sign in when you connect. Once connected, your online status in the Skype softphone will change to Online and you can start using Skype as you would from any regular Internet connection.

Finding Skype Zones Access Point

To use the Skype Zones client program to search for access points, first open the client by going to Start: All Programs: Skype Zones: Skype Zones. Next, click on the link Find A Location, which displays a search page, as shown in the figure. Frankly, the only advantage of using the search facility in the Skype Zones client program is that it works even when you are not connected to the Internet (the list of available access points is downloaded to your PC and is periodically updated). However, it doesn’t always have the most up-to-date list of available access points.