Skype vs. Google Voice: The Budget VoIP Faceoff
That is right: few of us need premium VoIP, especially not when we already pay in the vicinity of $100 per month for a cellphone. The telephony provided by Skype (now part of Microsoft) and Google Voice generally is superb. That is fact, but also is a fact dependent on the speed and quality of your broadband connection.
If your Internet is balky and slow, stop reading now. Good grade broadband is a must for deep diving into Internet calling.
Personally I cut my Verizon landline around seven years ago and have not looked back. Between unlimited cellular calling and very cheap VoIP - extremely handy for calling abroad even if cellular handles all your domestic calling - I have all I need.
But I use both Skype and Google Voice and so might you.
Skype and Google Voice are, in fundamental ways, different, and they have very different price structures. Google Voice is free, calling in the U.S. to U.S. numbers is also free; calling landlines in much of the world costs two cents per minute, and calling mobile phones outside the U.S. usually is 10 cents.
Skype, by contrast, has its roots in free calling, computer to computer. That Skype-to-Skype calling still is the service's forte and many of those free calls now are good quality video calls.
SkypeOut lets a Skype user call a landline or mobile. $13.99 a month allows unlimited global calling in much of the world, but not all. India, for instance, is not included. Before signing up, make sure the countries you want to call are included.
A $2.99 per month subscription covers all calls in the United States. That's what I have, and I buy international calling à la carte.
Calls to Ireland are 2.3 cents per minute. To India is 1.5 cents per minute.
Want to receive calls from real phones, too? On Google, that is free. A conventional phone number is yours at sign up.
At Skype, a call in number costs $5 per month on a 12 month subscription. When money is tight, skip that feature. Just get incoming calls on your cellphone or Google Voice number.
Note: although Skype is known for its video calls, you can make free video calls with Google - use the Hangouts tool. The problem: just about everybody is on Skype (it's become a verb, "Skype me"). Many fewer are on Google Voice. It is not easy to find other Hangout users in your circle.
A Google Voice plus: download the app to a smartphone and it is very simple to toggle it to make all your calls (I have no clue why) or to only make calls outside the country. I have mine set for the latter and it's smart. I might not recognize a Canadian or Caribbean area code but it knows I am about to be dinged and so it places that call, for pennies on the dollar via Google Voice, no intervention required on my part.