Skype is a popular software application that allows users to make voice calls, video calls, chat, and send text messages or files over the internet.
Skype is free and can be downloaded directly from Skype’s website. People need to have a Skype account and get a unique Skype ID, which acts like the phone number, in order to use the service. Signing up for a Skype account is free.
Once a person has installed Skype on their computer and has an account, all they need to do is login in order to connect with other Skype users. To be able to connect to a fellow Skype user, you must know their Skype ID to add them on your contact list. Connecting with other Skype users by chatting with them or by making voice and video calls over the internet is also free but calling landlines and mobile phones, as well as sending text messages, costs money. Rates differ per country though generally, compared to the call rates of regular phone services, Skype rates are way lower with a choice of paying monthly rates or just paying for each call.
People who wish to use Skype without having to log on to their computers can do so by buying special phones whose platforms support Skype. Examples of such mobile phones include Skype’s own Skypephone, Nokia’s N800 and N900 series phones, Apple’s iPhone, and Google’s Android.