What Is Skype and What Is It for?

Skype Explained in a Minute

Happy boy with father and grandfather having video chat on laptop
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Internet Calling Pioneer

Skype is a VoIP service, which uses the Internet to allow people to make and receive free voice and video calls online for free or for cheap. VoIP has during the past decade showed the way to communicators how to go around the expensive PSTN and cellular plans and make international calls for free or cheap. Skype is the app and service that has made the world know about it.

Many people today attach the idea of calling for free on the Internet to Skype only. It has been the most popular VoIP app and service for many years, although it is no longer so today. 

Skype has broken many barriers to communication. While in the past you needed to take particular care of the minutes and seconds you spend speaking on international calls, you no longer need to bother about that now. If you use Skype to make PC to PC communication, you pay nothing more than the monthly Internet service, which you would anyway have paid without Skype.

Skype reached a summit of more than half a billion registered users, although these days, its user base contains no more than around 300 million users. 

Skype is changing how people communicate with the integration of voice and IM (Instant Messaging) into one application. Later on, Skype added video calling and conferencing on its app such that you could talk to people face to face online for free.


High-Quality Calls 

Skype has its own mechanism for servers to route calls and data over the Internet. It also develops its own codecs that allow it to offer high-quality voice and video communication. Skype us known for its high definition calling. 

Numerous Plans

Skype has developed over time into a complex tool offering solutions in different if not nearly all spheres of communication, proposing schemes and plans for individuals, mobile users, residential users, small businesses and even large businesses, international callers and instant messaging users.


Basically, you make and receive calls to other Skype users, who are in hundreds of millions worldwide for free, irrespective of where they are and where they are calling or receiving calls from. The only requisite for the calls to be free is that both correspondents need to be using Skype. 

When the calls are to or from service other than Skype, like landline and cellular phones, then the calls are paid at cheap VoIP rates. Skype is not the cheapest VoIP service on the market, but it does offer good quality communication and has well worked out plans. 

The service also has a Premium plan that comes with additional features and enhancements. 

Skype also has strong business solutions that are now mostly cloud based, with complex and sophisticated back-end engines, able to fuel even big organizations. 

Read more on Skype Connect and Skype Manager, which are Skype's business solutions.

Skype App

The legendary Skype app first was installed on computers and Macs. While the decade unfolded into a world geared towards mobile technology, Skype had some problems getting mobile, and was in some way late to the party. But today, it has strong apps for iOS, Android, and all other common mobile platforms.


The Skype app is a softphone and full-fledged communication tool with advanced presence management, contact list, community tools, instant messaging app, and collaboration tool with many other features. 

Skype is very rich in features and keeps innovating, with its latest Skype Translate feature that allows people to talk in different languages while still understanding each other thanks to the app translating what is being said real time. 


Skype was created in 2003 during the early days of Voice over  IP or less technically Internet calling. It has known since great success and changed hands a couple of time before finally being acquired in 2011 by software giant Microsoft. 

Now Skype is not the most popular VoIP due to the fact that communication has become more mobile and that other apps and services have been more successful on mobile devices than Skype, like WhatsApp and Viber. 

Read these comparisons between Skype and other key communication apps: 

Skype vs. WhatsApp

Skype vs. Viber

Here is what you need to get started using Skype

Skype's web site: skype.com

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