Has Skype had its day? Even BT is cheaper now

I love Skype. There I said it. Skype has set the world of Internet telephony alive, bringing voice communications to the masses, with its free calls and very cheap 'to landline' calls.

I have both a Skype Out and In account. Their In account is awesome, giving me a local San Francisco Bay Area number, while my little bum sits squarely in the lowlands of Scotland. This has been a major boost to friends and clients who are based in the Bay Area giving them free, if not local call, access to me. This little act I have noticed has increased the amount of calls I receive; which is a good thing as I enjoy the chats with various people as they use me as their "commute buddy".

However, things are not all rosy in the garden of Skype.

If the recent rumblings with eBay (they finally realised they paid too much for it) aren't enough to contend with, then the problems for Skype as a service could be just beginning.

It was only a couple of months ago when they had their major worldwide outage, rendering the whole system dead. After that, they released a major software upgrade, and since then, things haven't felt the same.

Call quality has dropped. Frequent lockups in Windows. Dropped calls in middle of a call. Overall the service just feels a little delicate. I can't put my finger on it, but you just know when something isn't quite right.

Recently I had to make a call to the USA and it dropped out 4 times. In disgust I reached for the normal BT landline and chewed up a huge bill to make the call. Nothing like a real set of wires for a quality call.

After that call, I decided I needed a backup plan. I wanted to be able to reach for the BT line knowing I could call the US without it costing me a fortune. I looked around at various call plans and calling cards. The thought of dialing digits infront of a call really put me off. I have trouble remembering my 4 digit PIN number, so the chances of me successfully dialing a 6 digit pre-code was not good.

Then, for complete shits'n'giggles I went to BT to see if our nations greatest and biggest teleco could provide me with a solution. I had 0 faith. But I was to be shocked. After reading up on their call plans, I was completely floored to discover that they could provide me with International calling to 37 countries (including the USA) for free! The price of the plan was only 5 pounds sterling per month. Mobile phones included!!!

When I look at my Skype usage and compare it with this plan, BT works out cheaper. Skype charges me a 1c per minute for every call I make to the USA. They also charge me 3c connection. So it soon mounts up over the space of a month. The "BT Internaional Plan" actually works out cheaper.

Who would have thunk it - BT actually beating Skype in cost of calls.

I am still retaining my Skype account as I love the Skype-In facitily. But now I can at least call my people back from a landline and know its costing me a darn less than going through Skype.

BT - you've pleasently surprised me.


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