The Frugal Canadian

A frugal spender seeks to find new ways to save money and increase her net worth.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

VOIP setup

I setup a VOIP account today on Skype. I looked at Vonage and Rogers but was unimpressed with both their prices and the amount of setup/equipment required to get up and running. I am jealous of my American neighbours that have enough competition to keep prices low. With only a few Canadian companies, monthly prices are currently comparable to landline services. The long distance is definitely cheaper than traditional land lines, but Skype is still from what I can tell the best deal online.

Skype charges 0.017 Euro cents (approx 2 cents Cdn)per minute for computer to non-computer call and is free from computer to computer. It works on a credit system in 10 Euro increments. It would be nice if there was the option to buy in Cdn or US dollars but it's not that big of a deal. Hopefully, I'll be able to convince most of my long distance friends to get an account so we can talk computer to computer free.

I downloaded the software in just a few minutes and am nearly up and running. I need to pickup a microphone or USB phone. I'm hoping that my cellphone headset will work. It just needs an attachment to fit my audio input on my computer and I should be able to get one of these for a couple of dollars.

I tested the calls to other friends that are set up on Skype to make sure I was connecting properly(no voice yet) and have used the chat functions. Another great feature is the ability to send computer files. Since most email servers often have MB limits, sending large files can't always be done easily. I'm currently transfering a 500MB file from my brother who lives out of town and it's much easier than clogging up my email with files sent in bits and pieces.

This should save me about $10 a month in long distance bills. Not a huge amount, but if I like the VOIP experience, I may look at cancelling my cellphone in favour of a permanent VOIP service.


At 8:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You say it's free for computer to computer. Isn't it free only from Skype to Skype?

At 1:46 AM, Blogger Greg said...

Number of comments on reading your site:

1. For VOIP take a look at Gizmo - open source and not eBay controlled. Also seems to have access into the SIP network.
2. For cheap long distance take a look at Yak Communications ( - they were 5 cents a minute but just dropped the price to something like 3.5 cents. They have 10-10 dialing and +1 dialling. I also think they will hook your cell number up but I have not done that - yet.
3. ING -- super service -- interest rate is a tad less than ICICI but ICICI seems to have more restrictions in the fine print. I've been with ING for a few years and use them as my main bank for savings and line of credit - moving money on the Interest as needed to RBC, where I pay bills and write cheques. I get 1/100 of 1 % or maybe 1/10 of 1% at RBC - and feel it is an insult. I'd rather get nothing that 3 cents. On $500 ING pays about $1.13 per month and RBC pays $0.04 per month. At the end of a year you have about $13.50 from ING and $0.50 from RBC. I used to get lots of dollars per month from ING just floating expense cheques and pay cheques through the account til I needed the cash. I'm semi-retired now and have my "ready cash" earning a decent return.
4. When you get sufficient money in mutual funds look at Phillips, Hager and North ( and Mawer - both need significant initial investments ($25k for PH&N) - both have MERs around 1% - neither advertise. I've been with PH&N for years and love their service as well.


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