A couple of Skype questions.

The situation is that we want to buy a USB skype phone to enable us to call relatives in Australia without spending a fortune, there is no real problem with things at our end as the computer is switched on all the time. The problem is that the computer in Australia is rarely actually switched and I believe that a USB phone wouldn’t ring unless the computer it is connected to is switched on. My dad talked to an employee at a computer shop and left with the impression that there are skype phones that plug into the ethernet port on the back of a router (like this one) and so don’t require the computer to be switched on to receive a signal and ring. I have looked around for one of these phones but can’t find one, do they exist? Can a skype phone ring and be used without switching on the PC?

Also, do you need to change your phone number in order to use skype to call landlines? I suggested that if we couldn’t find a phone that would ring without the PC switched on we could ring their landline and tell them we would be calling over skype shortly but my parents are of the impression that we would lose our home phone number in order to setup an account to do this. Is this true or can we keep our current number and still call landlines in Australia?

There will be Skype cordless phones which will connect to a router and a landline. They will be coming out in the next few months. Philips and Netgear will be the initial two companies with this. Others will be following.

There is no change to your phone number. You could also get a Skype Out account which lets you call from your Skype account to a landline. You have to pay per minute of usage.

So these phones that are coming out soon will ring and receive free skype calls even though the computer isn’t switched on? And would I be right in thinking that they will be pretty expensive compared to the “standard” USB phones?

I was looking at SkypeOut and it seems to be a pretty good deal but I can’t find any mention of the need to change your phone number, i’m not sure where my parents got that idea from but I thought it would be safest to check.

You are correct. The Skype software is running in the phone. They have two connections. One is to your router and the other is to your telephone line. It works as a regular phone but also can accept and receive Skype calls. If you google for “Skype Philips PC-Free” you will find some information. As for the costs, I don’t have much information. Expect them to be initially around US$150-180 or so.

Again, Skypeout has nothing to do with your own telephone number. You do not have to do anything with your own telephone number. SkypeOut simply gives you a way to call to other telephone numbers through your computer. Your own telephone number is not involved in any way.

Good luck and say hi to everyone in Australia…

Oops. Should have type “but also can make and receive Skype calls.”