I'm on vacation this week and the airlines lost my luggage; I mean they lost them big time. It took more than a week of cajoling before I finally got my my suitcase from Aer Lingus. I'm staying in France and can't use my iPhone here without incurring huge charges, so I've turned to the Skype app to call the airline and found it failed miserably.

I remember reading where someone suggested that you could save lots of minutes (or even do without a network) if you had Skype on your iPhone. There were even suggestions that AT&T didn't want Apple to allow a Skype app precisely for this reason. I'm here to tell you that AT&T has nothing to fear.

Wireless Network Wonkiness

First of all you need to rely on the WiFi network. Where I'm staying in the country, it's not great, but the satellite service isn't terrible either. Still my conversations went something like this:

Me: Hello

Aer Lingus employee: Hello?

Me: Hello?

Aer Lingus employee: Hello?

You get the idea. I could hear him, but he couldn't hear me. It was as frustrating as the luggage odyssey itself. I learned if I went into the room with the wireless router I had a fairly strong and consistent signal, but that was only part of the problem.

Skype Network Inconsistencies

Not only did I have to deal with my wireless network, I had to deal with Skype's and would get messages that the network was having issues. Between the two, it was next to impossible to have a consistent conversation using the iPhone App. Sometimes either my wife or I would get part of the way before inexplicably the conversation would be cut off.

We finally gave up, bought a phone card and drove to a phone booth in a nearby town. Not exactly the most modern solution, but it worked.

You Really Do Get What You Pay For

Ultimately, you really do get what you pay for. Much like Google's free eBooks, which are often just some old copy of a book that's been scanned complete with water stains and so forth, free services are not as big a threat to the pay ones as you might think. Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other eBook sellers who add value to the experience give you a product that you want to pay for. The same goes for cell phone networks.

So the next time someone suggests you can use the Skype App to replace your phone network, remember my experience. It's all well and good in theory, but when you really need a reliable connection to make a phone call, you may want to pay the money, rather than take your chances with a free or low-cost service.

For what it's worth, I stayed a month in France (Dec 2009) and used Skype over Wifi extensively without incident, mostly over the Livebox router where I was staying, but I made calls while loitering outside the Apple Store (Carrousel du Louvre) as well.

I have an oddball 'regional' AT&T voice plan, but nationwide data; so I'm hoping to use Skype over 3G on an upcoming trip rather than upgrade my voice plan. That may be a differ'nt ball of wax.

Probably a different story in Paris where there is likely much more reliable networks than where I'm staying in the country operating via a satellite, but I admit that mine is just one experience and others may have more positive results than I did.

Thanks for the comment.


i have iphone and i do not have to use skype. I am using a softphone. you can get the softphone here, and there's a guide how to use it. It' iNomado for iPhone.

Well Yes...I agree with Aandrews. Nomado is best on iPhone. their Application works flawlessly. Their support is best. No comparison for quality. worth to try.....
Nomado Official Website

This has been the big problem of skype which i think they are not aware of. with my own experience too with skype, calls are terribly disappointing, but sometimes it would come with my mind that i think... it because there are a lot of users are given free calls and chat are abusing. the server could not carry all calls they made everyday. but since, there are people who are paying for the service but unfortunately taking hard to communicate their loved ones would actually find something that would benifit them. this link might help you guys http://www.voip-internet-telephone.info/lang/en/voip/mobile-voip

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