Skype Adapter: A Good Enough Reason Not To Ditch Your Landline For VoIP?

by Gaurav Kheterpal on September 5, 2011

What is true convergence? IMO, it’s the ability to make landline calls from VoIP phones and vice-versa. Most VoIP services let you make calls to landlines so that’s no longer a challenge. However, the versa part has proven to be a tough puzzle to solve. In fact, most users are ditching their landline phone simply because it isn’t interoperable with VoIP.

And who better than Skype to solve the VoIP – landline interoperability problem? After all, the coveted title of being the ‘Big Daddy of Internet Responsibility’ comes with its own responsibilities. In what’s potentially a game changer move, Skype last week released new products that, with an attached broadband connection, allow customers in the U.S. and Canada to use the telephony service from their existing home landline.

The prospect of my great-grandmother calling me through Skype no longer feels like a distant dream!

Several carriers such Verizon argue that their home phone business is becoming less profitable with people switching to “digital cable” (VOIP) services provided by the cable companies and dropping the home phone for their cell phones. If Skype plays it right, it has a golden opportunity to revive the golden ‘home phone’ era.

According to the company, the Freetalk ConnectMe Home Phone Adapter is capable of connecting a normal home landline to a router which allows users to make VoIP calls to other Skype users regardless of their device. Skype-to-Skype calls are free, while users will have to purchase one of the several plans in order to call landlines from the Skype handset. The best part – you just need a broadband connection (no computing device needed after the one time setup) to use this adapter. Skype is currently offering three plans – $40 gets you Freetalk with about 60 minutes of Skype credit; $60 gets you one year of United States/Canada calling and 200 international minutes; $60 will also get you another version with three months of unlimited domestic and international calling.

Skype doesn’t recommend using the home phone adapter as a substitution for the landline and, more importantly, emergency 911 calls are not available via Skype.

Skype also introduced a new cordless telephone called the GE Digital Cordless Expandable Telephone with Skype. It’s the latest in a line of popular Skype-integrated cordless handsets that give you the ability to connect with Skype contacts for free, make low-cost calls to mobiles and landlines and manage your Skype contacts, all without the need of a PC.

“Our mission is to make Skype available everywhere so consumers can enjoy conversations whenever and wherever they are,” Neil Stevens, Skype’s vice president and general manager for product and marketing, said in a statement. “Now, using Skype at home is as simple as picking up a handset and dialing.”

The obvious limitation of both these devices – you need an “always on” Internet connection. If you get logged out due to inactivity, you need to log in again. Despite these limitations, both these products are a promising start in order to curb the VoIP-PSTN gender gap.

Both products are now available in the Skype Store for US and Canada.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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