Skype has just become an even better tool for business travellers with the overnight launch of ‘Skype To Go’, which lets you make calls at Skype’s low rates from any mobile phone or landline to any other number.
Skype To Go works by assigning a ‘Skype phone number’ to any mobile or landline you nominate in a dozen countries (including Canada, the UK and Ireland, the USA, New Zealand plus a host of European countries, as listed below).
The Skype To Go number is a local number for your location. For example, if you’re based in Sydney but regularly call a partner or supplier in the US, you could assign a unique Skype To Go number with a Sydney (02) area code to their US number.
Then you call that number from your landline as a local call, or from your mobile as part of your monthly plan, and you’re connected to the US at Skype rates or as part of an Unlimited package.
How Skype To Go can work for travellers
But business travellers can take advantage of this by swapping things around. Let’s say you regularly travel to San Francisco but often find yourself calling back to your Sydney.
Skye To Go lets you assign a local San Francisco landline to your Sydney office (although given the time difference, you might opt to turn the mobile number of a key contact in your Sydney office into a virtual San Francisco number).
Then you can call back to Sydney from a US mobile, which is typically bundled with hundreds or even thousands of cheap-calling minutes, or from your hotel where local calls are free.
You can also assign a Sydney number to your US cellphone for the benefit of colleagues in Sydney.
You could even use Skype To Go for other oft-called numbers such as your airline's reservation hotline. Any local number you want to call while you're overseas is fair game.
Travellers to countries with “free evening and weekend calls” promotions are likely to be particularly keen on Skype To Go because you can use the free airtime to call local Skype To Go numbers which bounce back to home – and taking timezones into account, the evening might be the best time to call back to Australia.
Your Skype Credit or Skype subscription package allows you to create up nine of these Skype To Go local numbers.
A business traveller could easily set up dedicated Skype numbers for their office as well the mobile numbers of key staff, along with any third-party suppliers or agents.
Sounds good? Then here’s how to set up Skype To Go.
Step 1: Open your Skype account
Login to your account at Skype.com, click Skype To Go Number and select the country you'll be calling from. This determines what 'local' number is allocated, so if you want to assign a US number to a Sydney landline or mobile, choose USA from the drop-down list of countries.
Step 2: Getting to know Skype To Go
This screen explains. in plain language, exactly what you're about to do.
Step 2: Who you gonna call?
This bit is also super simple. Enter a name for your contact, their country and phone number.
Step 3: Registering your primary phone number
To make sure that only you (or someone you authorise) can dial the Skype To Go number, you'll need to enter the mobile or landline number you'll use most often for calling. For times when you'll be calling from a different number the PIN will still identify you and allow the call to be made.
Step 4: Ready to go with Skype to Go
That's all there is – now your office number back in Sydney will have a local number from any country which Skype To Go works in.
The local number you dial can also be altered without having to re-enter your destination number, and vice versa: you can also change the destination number without having to change the local number you dial.
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.