The Quick Start Guide to VOIP for the Home, Home Office, and Small Business

Attention Skype Fans—SkypeOut is Now (omigosh) Free in USA and Canada

As of May 15th, Skype will offering its SkypeOut service for free to destinations in the US and Canada.

SkypeOut is the service that lets you make outbound calls using Skype to regular landline or cell phones. Up to now, you purchased Skype credits and used the service to call destinations at very reduced rates. Now the promotion will only be available for calling US and Canada until the end of the year, but something for free is better than nothing!

Unfortunately, if you are a Skype user that resides outside the US or Canada, or if you are calling someone in a different country, the standard SkypeOut rates apply.

Interestingly, the announcement coincides with the May 16th announcement from AOL of their free AIM Phoneline service which provides a free local phone number to subscribers. It looks like the computer-based VOIP providers are starting to up the anti in the battle for new subscribers.

What if You Have Unused Skype Credits?

Your Skype credits remain untouched in your account as long as you are using the free SkypeOut service. If you receive calls using SkypeIn or if you make calls to a country other than the US or Canada, the normal rates apply and your account will be debited as usual.

Skype says that if you have never purchased Skype credits, you may be prompted to buy some before making your call. Just ignore that message and go ahead and dial.

Call Forwarding with SkypeOut

Call forwarding your Skype number to a US or Canadian phone or cell number is free as long as the call originates from the US or Canada. If you get a call from another country, the forwarding costs you the standard calling rate.

However, if you receive a call on your SkypeIn number and then forward with SkypeOut, the standard rates apply.

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AIM Phoneline from AOL is the First to Offer Free Phone Numbers AOL is jumping on the voice-over-IP bandwagon with the launch in May of a new free VOIP phone service to go along with its AIM instant messenger application.

Free Features from AIM Phoneline AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) Phoneline, free VOIP service released May 16, 2006, from AOL, boasts a number of features that will make existing AIM users very happy…

 

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