What is Skype?

Ten ways to get the most out of Skype. article header image

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past few years, you’ll have heard of Skype. But how much do you actually know about it and what it can do for you?

There are an estimated 660 million Skype users out there, so you may already have an account. But are you getting the most out of Skype? There’s more to it than meets the eye, so check out our guide to the pros and cons.

What is Skype?

Essentially, Skype is a service that lets you call, video call or instant message your friends and family.

There are lots of services similar to Skype, including Viber, Whatsapp and our own Three InTouch. These services are called VoIP services.

Skype: the early years.

Skype used to be a piece of desktop software. You’d agree on a mutually convenient time with the person you’re calling, both switch on your computers and open up Skype – then one of you would dial the other.

There were two main benefits. The first was that, if you had a web cam, you could actually see the person you were talking to. It was just like being in the same room. The second was that the call was serviced over the internet, so it was free.

Download the Skype app.

You can still use Skype on a computer, which is particular great for work meetings, conference calls or keeping in touch with long-distance relatives.

But there’s also a Skype mobile app (which is free to download), so you can make free Skype-to-Skype calls and send free instant messages to anyone who’s also using the app.

At Three, we’ve always worked to give you access to the latest tech on your handset. We were the first network to enable Skype-to-Skype calls from mobiles, freeing you from being stuck in-front of your computer.

Skype also offers an additional subscription that lets you do more, like call landlines or get better rates on international calls to people who don’t use Skype.

So if you want to wish your aunty in Australia “Happy Birthday”, but she doesn’t use Skype, it won’t cost you a small fortune.

Skype customer service.

Experiencing a problem with Skype? The Skype website has a comprehensive FAQ section and a very active forum.

If you’ve got an issue, it’s probably happened to someone else too – just do a quick search on the website.

Monitor your data usage.

Using Skype is free, but don’t forget that because Skype uses the internet, it’ll use up data from your allowance.

However, if you’re enjoying All-you-can-eat data with Three, there’s no need to give it another thought. Skype can also be used over a Wi-Fi connection.

No emergency calls with Skype.

It’s also worth noting that you can’t use Skype to make an emergency call.

You probably wouldn’t ever use Skype if you were calling 999, but it’s important not to waste any time in those types of situations.

Alternatives to Skype.

If you need an alternative for calling or texting your friends or family members who aren’t on Skype, why not try out Three InTouch?

We know that not having mobile signal indoors sucks. So we’ve created an app that lets you call and text anyone you want whenever you’re connected to Wi-Fi – which means you don’t have to rely on a network signal.

It’s really easy to use, while all calls and texts just come out of your monthly allowance or your Pay As You Go credit.