I don’t want to sound like a poster child for Skype, but I was using Skype in the Philippines long before Microsoft bought the company. I was paying a monthly subscription fee where I could call from the Philippines to any mobile phone or land line in the United States for around $6.00 a month. After Microsoft bought the company, the plan changed. I now pay USD $2.99 a month to do the same thing. You can’t beat that deal with a stick!
Using Skype from the Philippines
I’ve been in the United States since July of 2013, but it’s a temporary stay. I should be back in the Philippines by the end of 2014. I moved to the Philippines in 2006, but I didn’t start using Skype until 2008, while Josie (my wife) was staying with her cousin in the United States.
I signed up for their “one country” plan and then I nearly gave Josie a heart attack when I called her directly on her mobile phone (from my desktop PC). It took me some time to convince her I wasn’t in Phoenix. It’s now called the “Unlimited US and Canada” plan.
I also subscribed to get a local Phoenix number through Skype so that Josie could call me from her mobile phone. Because I paid for a year at a time, it cost me a whopping USD $30.00 for the number. It hasn’t gone up since then and I still have that number (and it includes caller ID).
Yes, I know Skype from computer to computer is free, but my wife didn’t have access to a computer until later.
Using Skype in Phoenix
When I arrived in Phoenix, I thought of canceling my Skype subscriptions but I decided to keep them going. I can still make long distance calls to anywhere in the United States. I can also make local calls with Skype. In fact, my point of contact phone number for just about everything is my Skype number.
I’m living in an extended stay apartment because it’s cheap enough while including everything in the price of the rent: Furnished with electricity, water, cable TV, Wi-Fi Internet and a PBX land line. We rarely use the land line even though local calls don’t cost us anything.
Using Skype instead of a Mobile Phone
I’m on a strict budget because I’m saving enough money to get back to the Philippines without being penniless when I get there. My budget doesn’t include a mobile phone because mobile phones cost too much. Josie isn’t required to have one for work – they can call either our land line or my Skype number.
The laptop I’m using doesn’t cost me anything and I’m paying $5.49 a month for Skype services. Doesn’t that sound a lot cheaper than $50 or more per month for mobile phone (not including the cost of the mobile phone)? My phone bill, in total, is $5.49 a month!
Sure, a mobile phone is convenient, if nothing else. Neither Josie or I are interested in mobile apps or the other “nice to have” features of any mobile phone available today. We have three, old-style mobile phones (without the ability to add apps) in the Philippines waiting for us. The only reason we plan to turn two them on is because a lot of Internet services want to use mobile phones for secondary authentication routines. (I can’t get a personalized Google Plus profile name without one, for example.)
[Image attribution: By User:ZyMOS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]