July 24, 2004, was the day the Skype users of the world could connect to the non-Skype users. SkypeOut, their name for calling traditional telephone numbers, went live that day. Before SkypeOut’s first birthday, the service had over a million paying customers.
This step required Skype to get involved with traditional telephone suppliers. They leveraged the modern expertise of Level 3, Cable and Wireless, and other global telecom suppliers who all connect to phone networks all over the world.
There are no extra hoops to jump through to add SkypeOut service to your existing Skype account. The only requirement is to purchase SkypeOut credit, because this works like a phone card. You buy some traditional telephone line connect time via SkypeOut, and then you can call your non-Skype family and friends.
Figure 7-1 shows the Skype web page used to purchase SkypeOut credits. When things work, they work well. When they don’t, well, that’s discussed next.
Figure 7-1. Buying SkypeOut credits for the first time
This page starts the buying process. The default purchase amount is 10 euros, which is about $13.25 depending on the exchange rate. Skype started in Europe and has no American offices, so euros are their currency of choice.
They will ask for various information in order to verify your credit card account. But they quit taking credit cards directly in February 2005 and now ...