The Decline of Skype and Some Alternatives
Back in the early 2000′s when I first discovered Skype, I was pleased beyond words. I got to make friends from other countries and talk to them. Calls were almost never dropped, I paid very low rates to use their network to call long distance phones in the US and Canada. The encryption of conversation was so good it was reputed to be undecipherable by the US government. As I remember the story, there was a man who began using skype who worked for a government agency. The head of the agency saw that he was on skype and tried to decrypt his conversation and was unable to. Probably urban legend now.
Within a few years Skype was sold and began its downhill spiral, until Microsoft bought it a few years ago. That made it worse than ever. Within months of their purchase and their ‘improvements’ I could not carry on a conversation without the call being almost instantly and repeatedly dropped and usually garbled beyond recognition. I don’t even answer their questionnaire any more about the quality of the call. They pay no attention. They force updates on me that I don’t need or want as I don’t use video whatsoever, but I download and allow them to install anyway. It is funny, because I have casually chatted with some MS employees who have the same thing to say. I have quit using Skype except with call forwarding to my phone, and I still use them now and then for long distance calls in the US or Canada. Calls to foreign countries are so bad (even though they are PAID for) it’s hopeless. You can’t get through and you DO get charged. You cannot reach them to complain.
If Skype is still serving you well, I am truly happy to hear it. Personally, I have started looking for some alternatives that I intend to try out when it comes near time for my current subscription to end.
I have not tried these out. There may be malware, unwanted noisy ads, etc., so proceed with caution.
The first of these is Viber. Viber supports all major mobile and standard operating systems. This includes free calls, texts and pictures to other Viber users. Like Skype they have Viberout which allows you to call phones worldwide. Http://viber.com
There is a Japanese company called Line. They allow free messaging and video calls to all Line users. You can get prepaid credit to make calls anywhere in the world. They have funny stickers you can send to friends. They support mulitple smart phones and PC. However, you need to check for yourself as some of the features work on some OS and not on others.
They can be found here.
Also like skype is VOIP BUSTER. Like the others they have free PC to PC calls. They also have a large list of countries you can call for free including US mobile phones. And of course you can buy credits. They have a calculator to let you know how much you will spend per minute.
Here is their web site.
Now, having said all this, again, I have not tried these out. Check into them before you download them.
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