The quality of Skype’s PC-to-traditional-phone-line calling service is not stellar, but often handy and good enough for me when traveling out of mobile-phone range, when an Internet connection is available (and that does happen in some coffee shops and offices in New York City, not just the boonies). I also have benefited from using the service, coupled with Skylook call-recording software (which I did pay for), to capture conversations for work and a few podcasts.
Well, the free trial is almost over and I’m not exactly hooked. I’m not sure I like the $30 annual fee, but I’ll consider signing up for the $15 early-bird special (requiring purchase by January 31, 2007). I’m sure Skype is introducing this pricing after extensive analysis of usage during the still-going free SkypeOut trial. Considering the number of minutes I used since the trial began, even a $15 annual plan would probably have been an average-cost calling plan. I’ll have to weigh the convenience and functionality benefits.
Final note, I realize it is almost trivial to ponder so heavily on a $15 dollar purchase. But I guess that’s part of the double-edged sword in a world where competitiveness in media, technology and related services mandates lowering fees drastically, sometimes to zero.