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Old 25-03-2013, 07:09   #16
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Re: Skype as Phone Service for Live Aboard

i use skype to call momma--i get a lot of bad connections even with banda ancha and cannot use the extra bandwidth required for video presentation --momma cannot see her first born baby--but, most of time, when i actually have a signal, we can talk.
inside usa i used a usa corporation for cellular fone. here in mexico i use skype and for local calls--yes i have friends here--a mexican cell fone.
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Old 25-03-2013, 08:17   #17
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Re: Skype as Phone Service for Live Aboard

Another thought on this...is that there is a free app called "Viber" for iPhones/smartphones....which works much better than the free Skype as far as reception and clarity...its Internationally free for phone calls and texts etc...something few people really know much about but I use it with my daughter who lives in London, we are in the west US...really easy and free to use...worth looking into...cheers
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Old 25-03-2013, 08:56   #18
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Re: Skype as Phone Service for Live Aboard

In June Microsoft will merge Skype into Lync. They own Skype and will attempt to make Lync be Instant Messaging, voice over IP and videoconferencing all in one. It will tie to email and provide a lot of features. It appears all Skype subscriptions will transfer to Lync too. It should have all the same features of Skype but add more.

Some of the fancier features won't apply but will allow companies to migrate the PBX systems to a digital server to manage all the communications company wide. Folks won't need a phone on their desk any more. Your smartphone or desktop headset will be all you need.

The process has already started with IM being moved over. The integration will be a good thing but we can see how it changes. Note Skype is not available in all countries that have Internet. Netflix is the same too. A "Skype In" phone number solves a LOT of problems and is a nominal fee per month if people need to reach you in port.

There is no reason NOT to have Skype if you have a computer with Internet ability. It just won't solve all your problems and does require some bandwidth. There really isn't anything else that is this cheap.

Sat phones work even better but at a VERY high cost. Not something affordable you can use to chat with the folks back home every couple days. For serious trouble out at sea an EPIRB is the best bang for the buck. It does the only thing you really need it to do and sends your location along with a SOS with the push of a button until the battery runs dead. A sat phone is not as good since you have to call someone and just what will they do? How will they find you?
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Old 25-03-2013, 09:07   #19
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Re: Skype as Phone Service for Live Aboard

yes, all of this is pointing to an integration and simplification as technologies refine and evolve into the future for affordable and ease of solutions...very positive.
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Old 25-03-2013, 10:06   #20
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Re: Skype as Phone Service for Live Aboard

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Originally Posted by mbada View Post
AAre there any descent satellite connections that are fast enough for Skype?
Only if you are willing to spend thousands of dollars up-front for the hardware, and thousands more every month for the subscription fees. In other words, cost prohibitive, unless you are outfitting a millionaire's mega-yacht.

Otherwise, for anything along the lines of Skype, you have to be within line-of-sight range for cellular service, or wifi.
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Old 25-03-2013, 13:31   #21
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Re: Skype as Phone Service for Live Aboard

Mbada,

If you have a sat phone you could simply make a call to the other party. Voice charges are going to end up being less than data charges would be. Part of going cruising is adapting to not having 24x7 access to the internet unless you're wealthy enough to afford the required technology. There are many large yachts with 24x7 internet and voice communication capability but their monthly expense for that technology is quite high.
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Old 25-03-2013, 13:40   #22
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Re: Skype as Phone Service for Live Aboard

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My wife has an elderly mother who lives in England. We live in Australia and about to move aboard our boat as live aboard. AT this stage we will be in a marina and will have reasonable WiFi and or 3G/4G broadband coverage but no phone land line. The mother-in-law likes to ring several times per week from England but her phone service doesn't seem to let her ring Australian Mobiles.

Has anyone used the Skype phone numbers as a "Home phone number" rather than just mobile numbers?

Obviously you need reasonable internet coverage for it to work, but I am more interested in if it works as described, what the costs are (Seems I can request a UK number so it just becomes a local call for her).

Is there an alternative to Skype I should look at?

Yes it works as described. You can also setup the same thing with VoIP providers as well.

Obviously you need reasonable internet for Skype to work. It works "most of the time " over 3G GSM, but suffers in certain areas where either signal strength is low or the cell is overloaded.

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Old 26-03-2013, 15:48   #23
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Re: Skype as Phone Service for Live Aboard

A few years back We installed a broomstick 3G antennae which hugely increased our range, up to 60 NM at sea from a tower.
The one we use has 6.5 db gain which is a compromise between being more gain for a narrower beam and less gain with a wider beam. Too narrow and it drops our when the ship rolls.
Ours is Australian made by Results for Life a COL2100 series
Skype works great using it.

Hope that helps
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Old 27-03-2013, 08:59   #24
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Re: Skype as Phone Service for Live Aboard

It is not clear whether you intend to have a cell phone in addition to Skype on a computer. If you have an I-Phone (or similar) you can put Skype on that. It works really well assuming you have a good WiFi signal. You can also get "Skype to go" that enables you to call a local number while away from WiFi to access Skype for your international calls via your cell phone at low rates. We used Skype in the Bahamas but band width was often too narrow or too slow to connect well, even without video.
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Old 27-03-2013, 09:33   #25
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Re: Skype as Phone Service for Live Aboard

I use both Skype and Viber, if you have Viber you’ll need to be in a wifi area, but for free texts/calls Viber to Viber is great, on the smart phone just download the App and have your friends do the same, I used it in the Bahamas and there were no extra charges on my bill (remember wifi), I use skype in wifi only to “see” whom I’m calling otherwise I use Viber, give it a try, nothing to lose! Soon though I believe SPOT will have a good remedy to this problem.
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Old 27-03-2013, 09:41   #26
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Re: Skype as Phone Service for Live Aboard

Take a good look at this.

SPOT Connect
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Old 27-03-2013, 09:45   #27
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Re: Skype as Phone Service for Live Aboard

I am surprised nobody mentioned it but I use Magic jack along with Skype. The thing I like about magic jack is you can plug a regular phone into it. i got it to be able to use a fax machine (I am surprised at how many companies refuse to give up on fax!) I have sometimes found it will work on a bad internet connection when skype will not. It is not good for international but I figured I would mention it for those interested and possibly needing fax like me.
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Old 27-03-2013, 10:42   #28
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Re: Skype as Phone Service for Live Aboard

try google voice, it "unattaches" your phones number from your google voice number, so that you can have 1 number that forwards to any other line you want to set up and you can make and receive calls on a laptop...i actually use it for work! it is that good. It allowes missed calls, text messages, voicemails and emails to all come directly to your email inbox, so only one thing to check ....been using it now for several years since it was beta...it used to be a company called grand central a telecommunications company....also, it is free!

i use it for business when i am out of the country on vacation....with my laptop and tablet
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