Thursday, May 15, 2008

Skype = confusing and misleading

So, I'm not exactly sure why I chose to do this... well, actually it is because I thought I could save some money.
I don't use my phone that often. No particular reason other than I don't like talking on the phone. I'm much more of an email person.
So when it came time for me to choose a long distance plan, I waded through all the confusing plans, and determined that the best one for me was a one that included a small monthly fee of about $5. Then, all my long distance calls after that are around ¢12 a minute.
Now here's the kicker, to call my sister who lives on the opposite side of the country, it costs me ¢12 a minute... but to call my mom who lives about 15 minutes away, it costs me ¢24 a minute!
What's up with that!?
So, I decided to look into Skype.
I had played around with Skype back when it was free. I liked it, but it felt more like a gimmick, and in all honesty it was easier to pick up the phone, than to fire up the computer, find some headphones, speak into the built in microphone, etc...
Then, like any good drug dealer business plan... Once Skype had people hooked on the free plan, they moved to a subscription based plan. I'm out.
So fast forward a year, maybe even 2 or 3 years, and I'm thinking of getting rid of my long distance plan, and a cheaper way to call my mom.
So, I buy a usb headphone with a built in microphone, and two days ago, signed up for a 3 month subscription plan. It works out to about $1.50 per month for UNLIMITED long distance calls to anyone in the USA. So that part is good!
But then things got complicated...
Through some poorly worded subscription plans, I learn that because I live in the USA, I'm NOT able to get a "skype phone number". Well, technically I can, BUT it costs about $54 per year!!! Now, this isn't a critical part of having skype, If people want to call me, they can still call me on my regular phone. But there are certain benefits to having a skype phone #. One of which is that when I call my mom, her caller ID shows my call as "unavailable", so now she'll not know if she's getting a junk call, or if it's me. Grrr.
So, right now... Skype, you're on NOTICE!
Either get this USA phone number thing straightened out, or you'll lose me (and many others based on your message boards) in about 6 months.

Oh, and the icing on the cake...
I had to buy a USB hub now for the headphones, and as far as I can tell now, it doesn't work with any of my devices. Thanks Belkin!

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