The PhoneBoy Blog


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Why “Toll Free Calling” on Skype is a Big Deal

Aswath and Andy, and probably a few others have pointed out that it is now possible for all Skype users to place SkypeOut calls to “toll free” numbers in the US, UK, Poland, and France. Aswath rightly points out that Jeff Pulver and company did this with Free World Dialup a long time ago. That along with the “free PSTN calling” periods.

Why is calling a toll-free number from Skype a big deal? I mean, can’t you just pick up your landline and call that 800 number for free? Well sure, if you’re in the same country. What if I was abroad and wanted to call a place by it’s 800 number, which I have memorized, but don’t want to pay the associated long distance charges from the remote country? I could use Skype for this now.

Meanwhile, as a relatively new user on Skype, I don’t have too many people to “talk” to (Hi, Andy :) . The ability to call an 800 number provides the ability to try Skype “risk free” without spending any money or bugging a total stranger. I remember using Free World DIalup in the same manner way back when. Not only does it give you a sense of VoIP to PSTN connectivity, it gives you a sense of VoIP on the whole. Even though you’re connected to the PSTN, you still have to deal with the client-side experience, e.g. can you find the mute button, does the audio sound right, etc.

In short, it provides far more interesting ways for people to “experiment” with VoIP risk-free. And it doesn’t cost Skype hardly everything. It may be a play out of someone else’s playbook, but that doesn’t mean it’s not smart. It’s very smart. Hopefully, Skype can expand the toll-free calling to more countries.


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