First, let’s just get this part out of way: There’s no such thing as a free call. Try as you will, Skype will thwart you from using any of their free services that is any way useful for anyone. Not everyone in the world has a Skype account and spends all day, everyday, on the computer 24-7. Only I have have that luxury.
After months of trial and error, we have used this set up of having a single American number that forwards to both our cell phones for the past year and a half that has worked almost perfectly 100% of the time. It not only allows us to have a number that friends and family can use, but also a contact number for businesses like credit card companies and student loan sharks to reach us by. That seemed like only a small benefit until banks started calling us with fraudulent charges on a U.S. bank card seldom used, and then we were pretty ecstatic that we had direct contact with them instead of some kind of international phone tree involving parents or invalid phone numbers.
Step 1 Purchase an online number from the city that everyone you know lives in.
Skype allows you to buy phone numbers in which people can call and reach you on your computer or, if you enable call forwarding like I did, by phone. I bought a (310) Los Angeles number for a mere $30 a years (or $12 for three months). It comes with free voicemail, but I never use it and you’ll see why later.
Step 2 Create some call forwarding preferences on your account
Using the preferences in Skype, you can forward multiple numbers in your household no matter what country the phone is in. I have it set up to call not only the house phone, but my cell phone as well. The caller ID of the person you are calling will in fact show up on your cell phone if you follow step 3.
Step 3 Enabling Caller ID
Although technically this is an optional step, after activating caller ID (so people could see our Skype 310 number), it also made it possible for me to see the number of the people calling me on my cell phone when the call was forwarded. If you do not check this box, the number that will appear on the person you are calling’s device will be a random 15 digit number that looks incredibly suspect.
To enable caller ID on your account you can either go to your preferences on your account online on Skype, or preferably, on the preferences on your Skype application. On the application you can also tell Skype to start forwarding the call immediately by changing the number of seconds it will wait until it forwards the call.
Step 4 Set up auto repay
In order to use the call forwarding and make calls, you obviously have to pay Skype. You can do a reoccurring payment of $10 every time Skype credit gets to the two dollar mark.
You will now receive the voicemail on your cellphone or home phone. Depending on which phone reaches an answering service the fastest, the forwarded call will actually leave a message on that device, not your Skype voicemail. This means you don’t have to be in front of your computer every time there’s a missed call.
Call forwarding will still work practically everywhere in the world! Even if you return to your home country for the holidays, family and friends can still call the American Skype number to reach you if you have forwarded to a cell phone.
Anyone can call your Skype user name from their computer and get you on your cell phone.
- The Hulger Phone – Complete disasters every single last one of them. Although they work great for cell phone, using them with Skype gives you mixed results ranging from “I can’t hear you at all” to “Are you scratching the phone with your fist?”.
- Skype Subscriptions – Although cheap, this still demands calling from the computer or a usb phone. This does not cover incoming calls to a phone.
- Skype for mobile or Skype for iPhone – Still requires you to pay your cell company for the minutes used and it’s not even available in every country or type of cell phone.