A lot of us here at MakeUseOf use Skype to get in touch with each other. Skype, for those who may not know, is a Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) service which allows unlimited free calls between users using the desktop, mobile or iPhone application.
If you pay for Skype credit, you can call out from Skype on your computer to normal phones (wireless or landline) at a discounted rate. Also, for an additional cost, you may get a “Skype-In” phone number, which is essentially a Skype number disguised as a local land line, so that all calls to that number will be forwarded to your Skype account, allowing you to take the call anywhere and on any computer with Skype installed. This benefits the caller — if Skype is not available, he/she can always contact you simply by dialing a local number.
It’s a cool thing to have, but outside of this site’s staff I don’t have much use for the service (many of my friends are still using AIM for goodness’ sake). That changed today when I signed up for phone numbers to forward calls to my Skype account, and unlike the Skype-In service, they didn’t cost me a thing.
So, how to get a Skype phone number?
If you don’t have a Skype account, please be sure to set one up first. You’ll need to provide your Skype ID when you register at Ring2Skype.com, which is where you get your free “Skype-In” numbers. There are a lot of countries to choose from, and you may register multiple numbers. For example, I’ve registered numbers in Windsor, Canada and London, UK as well as a US (New York City) number. My friend in Manhattan can call me up as if I lived there. Co-workers in London and Canada can now call me without ringing up international charges.
Here in the US, we have but a few choices as to our number’s calling area. I could get a number (with a three-digit extension) in California, Florida, Maine or New York. Japan’s numbers are limited to Tokyo, and Israel to Tel Aviv. It’s going to be a bit odd giving friends in Louisville my Manhattan number, but these days when long-distance and local calling are often the same price, it shouldn’t be too big a stretch.
There really is no catch. Call quality for me was as good as a regular Skype, Gizmo or Mobile Phone call. I plan on giving these numbers out to business contacts, and once Google Voice (which I hope to review for you soon) allows forwarding my GV number to extensions, I plan on using this service with friends and family as well.
Do you have s Skype-In number? Are you aware if any alternative way to get a Skype phone number? How do you plan on using your Ring2Skype numbers? Let us know in the comments.