This week I replaced my old, worn-out smartphone with a Galaxy Nexus by Samsung. The carrier I use is Verizon. I did a lot of online research before deciding which model smartphone would be my upgrade.
I relied heavily on Google services with my last phone, which was an Android phone. It is so nice to make calendar entries on my phone or on my desktop computer and have the entries propagate to either device. I have also enjoyed using Google Voice as my voicemail provider instead of Verizon. All the Google services that are available on Android phones is a subject for perhaps another post.
I’ve been a Verizon customer for as long as they have been doing cell phones. Their signal strength is not always the best, especially in my house. It is not uncommon for me to have to walk toward a window to get a decent signal during a telephone conversation. With my new Galaxy Nexus, the signal is just as bad, if not worse than the old phone. I don’t worry so much about receiving calls. There’s always voicemail if I can’t pick up a call. But I thought it would be nice if I could be inside the house and not have to worry about whether my cell signal is good. My Skype account ended up being the answer.
I had the Skype for Verizon app on my old smartphone. I also have a home wifi network. But I was never able to make Skype calls over my wifi network on the old smartphone because the application would not allow it. When I got the Galaxy Nexus, I loaded the Skype for Verizon app on the phone and found the same notice that wifi Internet calls were not possible.
While I was searching the Android Market, I noticed that there are 2 different versions of Skype, one of them being the version specifically for Verizon customers. Since the one stamped as Verizon wouldn’t let me make wifi calls, I decided to try the app that was not Verizon-specific.
The other Skype app loaded on the phone with no problems. I was surprised when I found that there is no restriction on this app for making wifi Internet calls. I already had a local telephone number for my Skype account, so I decided to try some calls, both in and out, using the wifi Internet connection. I was quite surprised to find that the calls using Skype were actually clearer than the calls using the Verizon network.
Skype has a very reasonable calling plan for unlimited calls in the U.S. You can either pay $2.99 per month, or $30.48 per year for unlimited calls in the U.S. Now I have a home phone and a mobile phone … and they’re both on the same device.