The Benefits of a Skype Premium Account

The Skype Without Restrictions, And Whether It’s Worth

Skype screen share becomes premium; Google+ Hangout = free
See-ming Lee 李思明 SML/Flikr/CC BY 2.0

Skype Premium is a service plan for Skype that gives you more than what you get with the ‘free Skype’ that everyone uses. You are much limited with free use, mostly because not everyone you need to contact uses Skype or is available on Skype at that particular moment to take your VoIP call. So Skype Premium is the paid plan that gives you some (still limited) possibility to go round these restrictions.

Let’s see what’s in it and whether it is worth paying for.

Who is Skype Premium For?

The plan is open for anybody who can pay, but who will find interest in paying for it? You will most probably consider the plan if you are one of these:

  • People who need to make calls to non-Skype phones in a particular country. That would be mainly for business or for replacing a home phone service.
  • People who make international calls to one country often.
  • Collaborators using multi-party video conferencing.
  • Collaborators needing to share their screens.

What it Costs

The cost of Skype Premium is somewhat interesting. That is however contextual, in the sense that if what is offered (see below) stands as a definite advantage for you, then the small price is indeed interesting. Consider the features and the avenues and possibilities they open, and see first whether there is any worth for you in it. Simply said, it’s either a great deal or no deal at all, as I see it.

So, to be a Premium user, you pay $7 per month, plus VAT. You are billed half that price if you make payment for a whole year, which amounts to something like $42 plus VAT. Not very expensive.

Pay attention to VAT as it does add up to a considerable difference in the final price. Also, you might want to try some features of the service plan for a day, which is a possibility offered before payment.

What Skype Premium Offers

Skype gives free unlimited voice and video calls to all users that communicate within the Skype network, that it Skype-to-Skype calls. Video calls are free for only one-to-one participant. Now Skype Premium offers these additional possibilities:

  • Free unlimited calls to landline and mobile phones to one country of your choice.
  • Group video calling between more than two persons in a call, up to a maximum of 10.
  • No ads.
  • Live customer support through chat.
  • Group screen sharing.

Is it Worth?

Let’s analyse these features, so you can see if it fits you.

Unlimited free calling to country of your choice. This can be very interesting since it can allow you to have a full-fledged phone service for only $4 a month. Since you get to choose one country for unlimited calling, you only have to select the country you are in, and use Skype to make all your local calls. But this would apply only to a very small percentage of Skype users. Why?

Firstly, you can make unlimited calls to both landline and mobile phones in only 4 countries: the US, Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong. If you live in these countries, the Premium plan is definitely an interesting option to consider as a landline replacement phone service.

Then there is another quite short list of around 40 countries to which you can only call landline phones. In some of them, only a bunch of cities are covered. Now this is serious restriction. Huge telephony consumers like China, India, and Brazil, to name but a few, are not in the list. For the other listed countries, you can’t call to mobile phones, which in nearly all countries, largely outnumber landline phones.

With respect to saving money on calls, I see that those who will really benefit from Skype Premium are those living in the 4 countries where calls are free to both landline and mobile phones, and to those in other countries who make frequent calls to these destinations.

Multi-party video calls. 10 persons is the maximum you can fit into a video conversation with Skype Premium, but Skype recommends 5 persons at most if you want to keep good call quality. This option might interest remote collaborators, be it in business, education or simply social networking. But if you are seeking simply a multi-party video conferencing solution, there are free and better options out there. OoVoo is an example, which allows up to 12 participants per video call, for free. So unless you have really strong reasons (like for example, to take advantage of Skype’s huge user base), paying for a Premium is according to me not the best solution for multi-party video calling.

Group screen sharing. Free screen sharing can be obtained in other apps, but this is an activity that does not come alone – it is part of a collaborative process that involves voice and video chat. This feature is therefore more a complement to the group video calling feature. It allows you to share pictures, snaps, presentations and other stuff that show on the screen.

Eliminated ads. Some users don’t even notice that Skype shows ads. Skype says these are shown in some countries, but to my taste, they are not cumbersome and disturbing enough to pay for their removal.

Live support chat. Do we really need that? Maybe you do, but Skype is so popular that people are speaking about each and every detail of it in hundreds of forums worldwide. Paying for live customer support would be more appropriate for a customized or niche product, one that is rare or complex. That wouldn’t be Skype.

Bottom Line

Skype Premium is rather cheap, but only if you find it worth for your case. Make it your home or office phone service, but you are only a small percentage of all Skype users to do that. If the unlimited free calling option does not seem worthwhile, the other features will not convince you.