I haven’t had a landline for over 2 years. I use Skype over broadband for my telecommunication needs. I have what looks like a Wellington (04) phone number, but its actually a SkypeIn number, which connects you to my Skype phone. Here’s what I currently pay:
- Landline: Unlimited calling (subject to a fair usage limit)
- Mobiles: 29c per minute
- 10Gb traffic
That’s pretty amazing, when you think that a standard phone line costs almost as much.
- Landline: 18c – 45c per minute
- Telecom mobiles: 38c – 62c per minute
- Non-telecom mobiles: 47c – 62c per minute
- No internet
Most people I know are still using a landline PLUS broadband. Therefore their costs are more likely to be:
Telecom Total Home, $99 per month
- Landline: Unlimited calling for up to 2 hours per call (then $0.14c per minute after that)
- Telecom mobiles: $2.00 for up to 2 hours per call (then $0.29 per minute after that), or standard rate of $0.29 per minute
- Non-Telecom mobiles: 37c per minute
- 10Gb traffic
TelstraClear HomePlan, $105 per month
- Landline: Unlimited calling for up to 3 hours per call
- Mobiles: 40c per minute
- 10Gb traffic
Its not something that your telecommunications provider will discuss with you, but ditching your phone line could save you over $500+ a year. The savings for business could be even more, since they are also charged for local calls. You can reallocate this money towards better broadband, an iPhone, or other productivity enhancing tools.
I suggest you use Skype first before ditching your phone line. There are a lot of factors that can affect whether you have a satisfactory experience, ranging from broadband speed, computer configuration to hardware quality. Here are some tips to get you going.
Most people associate using Skype with a microphone and/or web camera on their PC. Make sure you use the best hardware you can afford. The free headset or webcam included in your PC bundle is probably not the best. At a minimum, you need a good headset, like the Logitech Premium USB Headset 350. If you want to videoconference, then I recommend the Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000. In business situations requiring good audio, perhaps with a group of people talking, the Clearone Chat 50.
I’ve found that call quality can be variable, depending upon your computer setup / whatever else is running on your computer at the time. There are many more convenient ways to use Skype, that solve this problem.
Our main Skype device in the home is a Linksys CIT400 iPhone (yes really, Linksys were the first to register the term iPhone). It doesn’t need a PC to operate, you just plug it directly into a spare port on your broadband device.
More and more these days, I find myself using the free Skype iPhone app. We have poor Vodafone coverage at Paraparaumu Beach, but I can use Skype on my iPhone, which connects through my WiFi, to give great phone call quality. For my purposes, it makes Vodafone’s femtocell solution obsolete, before they have even started marketing it. Skype for iPhone would be even more useful, if it could be used away from home on 3G. Unfortunately Apple/telcos have chose to not permit this.
Important note: Skype can’t be used for emergency 111 calling, therefore you need access to an alternative way to call emergency services, such as a cellphone.