The other day, Missy and I had a conference called scheduled with another business associate. I said we should do a video call and that I would initiate it since I have a Skype Premium membership (which is required for a group video call).
Missy: “You are the only person I’ve ever heard of who PAYS for Skype.”
I get that a lot. When I blogged about my favorite tools that help me organize my business earlier this year, I got teased by more than a few people for my paid usage of Skype.
I honestly think Skype does a lackluster job of promoting their premium service and the benefits it has over traditional (free) Skype. and since I’m apparently one of the only people on earth who uses it (haha) I figured I’d explain the benefits and why I personally (gasp) pay for Skype. ;-)
What comes with the free version of Skype
Skype’s free version will probably serve the needs of most of people that use it. The free version allows you to:
- Make one on one video calls
- Have an audio conference call with up to 25 participants
- Instant messaging between Skype users (both one on one and with multiple participants
- File sharing capabilities
Additional features available with Skype Premium
- Group video calling with up to ten participants (however, my personal experience is that any more than 6 people on the call will make things choppy unless you have a stellar Internet connection). Additionally, only one person in the group video call needs to be a Skype Premium member for this function to come into play.
- Group screen sharing with up to ten people (however, as with group video calls, I start to have problems with choppiness after I’ve shared my screen with about six people).
- No partner advertising (not that I was super bothered by the ads before, but still, nice to have them removed when you upgrade).
- Access to live chat support (I’ve only ever needed to use this once, and it takes some sleuthing to even FIND it on the site. However, after about a five minute hold, I had my issue cleared up).
What does Skype Premium Cost?
The cost of Skype Premium is $9.99 USD per month, but if you pay by the year, you get it at a discounted rate for only $4.99 USD per month (for a total of $59.88 per year).
What you DON’T get with Skype Premium
Unless I haven’t realized it, you don’t get a “better connection” with Skype Premium than you do using the free version. So you’ll still have the occasional dropped call and occasional terrible connection the same as you do with the free version.
Additionally, Skype Premium should not be confused with Skype for Business, which is a completely different set of service plans (and I’m told, more expensive, though I don’t know for sure because last I checked you had to contact them to get a custom price quote for Skype for Business).
How I use Skype Premium
- To group video call employees and keep everyone in my company feeling connected even though they are quite distanced by geography.
- To group screen share while training my staff or doing company presentations.
- To group video chat with clients, associates and friends.
Why I happily pay for Skype Premium
There are other services out there that offer multiuser video chat and screen sharing (Oovoo immediately comes to mind, though I’ve yet to try it – but stay tuned for a future review on that, because I will need to once I need to video chat or screen share with 8 or more people) but they’re a bit pricier to get more than 4-6 users at a time (usually because they have some pretty cool – but unneeded by me at this exact moment – additional features), and I’ve found Skype Premium to be enough for my current needs (which is usually 6-7 people at the most).
So hopefully this gives people a better idea of why I pay for Skype. At the very least, the next time they make fun of me, I can point them to this post. :)