SkypeOut Quality & Billing Problems

February 10, 2005

in Skype Journal

If you’ve had problems with SkypeOut in the last 30 days add a comment or send a trackback. Same if you couldn’t buy Skype minutes.

I suspect it is time to report loudly that SkypeOut doesn’t work all the time, while making account payments can still present “rejection” problems. Neville wrote a post yesterday, and it is a well timed reminder. There should be little tolerance for poor quality connections. Similarly stories of credit card problems / approval flags I’ve had personally and have know applied to my friends.

These occurances are enough to make people mad enough to write in the Skype Forums, and as always these are just the tip of the iceberg. I read the Skype forums regularly and complaints on SkypeOut quality and purchasing Skypeout Minutes are regular. What percentage we don’t know? Are failure rates higher than average? We don’t know. Are they for specific countries? We don’t know. They often appear to relate to the more expensive calls to countries where the infrastructure is stretched, expensive to access etc. Then we don’t know.

Today I got a busy signal on two foreign SkypeOut calls and then the third one connected with quality so poor that I cancelled the call. Skype charged me .138 Euro cents for that call being a 40 second failure to a foreign mobile. For the times it has worked well I sort of forgive them. Still it is not what one wants or is trained for. My .138 cents is gone.

Generally I’ve had real success to landlines, and a rougher time to mobiles. I just tried another call to a different country and it failed again the first two times. I also got “internal error” this time. Finally third time I got his voice mail and it was clear as anything. Is the fact I get “busy” signals a sign that Skype’s network connections are overloaded. Or are telecoms playing another game in the background. Blocking Skype or making Skype calls difficult?

We need to hear more from Skype on this one. Skype is challenging the telecoms, their business models and making a mockery of SIP initiatives. I don’t think they started out with an interconnect plan at the beginning, more likely it became a business opportunity and it was demanded by Customers. What’s being fixed now? What’s the timetable?

On balance failed calls / poor QOS make users mad, and means SkypeOut costs more than it should. It’s more likely to annoy new users than those that have used it for a long time with success. Today the product is no longer in beta. I don’t think I see any beta on SkypeOut. For new users using SkypeOut I’d be willing to bet the majority don’t care about VoIP and many won’t have tried out other services. So the service and connection paradigm is still PSTN which works.

A few users like me have tried all sorts of VoIP appications. The other one I live with daily is Vonage which in my view sucks. International calls on it are twice the price of SkypeOut and for the most part half the quality even on local calls. That is my experience. So my judgement and damnation of one poor interconnect is “I’ll try it later” and looking at the “broader” picture. New Skype users won’t give Skype this kind of slack and I really shouldn’t either. Thanks Neville!

And wow! are they saying things………….

They have coughed up money to buy credit to use a service which, for one reason or another, doesn’t seem to be delivering………….And they don’t seem to be getting answers from Skype.

….And they’ll tell their friends: “Yeah, Skype’s cool but calling [friend X] in [country Y] just doesn’t work.”
Skype Has a Problem With SkypeOut

I totally agree with you. My company is in the Credit Card business and it seems to me that Skype is a good product that is struggling with a poor CC solution. All these things can and must be addressed an soon. There are lots of other people willing to make it work if Skype can not. :: moneybookers update

By contrast a useful review of BT communicator. Here’s Martin’s pitch.

I use it for business calls away from home because I’ve experienced mixed results with SkypeOut. Hardly the wave of the future, but better than nothing.
Telepocalypse BT Communicator

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

A Penny For... February 12, 2005 at 7:02 am

Skype Billing Disappointing Me

I have been working on a good way to record phone interviews for 800-CEO-READ Podcasts. I liked the solution that Glen Fleishman posted at It involves lots of software, but I think it is going to work great. One of the pieces of that…

Bill Campbell February 13, 2005 at 12:07 pm

Hi Stuart and Neville too if he is reading this…

There is no question Skype has a global SkypeOut problem. On the other hand it has been good enough for me to give up my Landline at a saving of $500 per year.

Nev tells a good story on calls to Costa Rica. To balance his story I have a contact in Toronto that makes 40 to 50 SkypeOut calls per week (business) to Nicaragua with a 99 percent success rate.

I wonder how many failed call reports Nev’s wife sent to Skype? Here is what I advise others to do:

Report each failed call to with your location, time of day of call and the complete phone number you were calling and of course what happened. Without this information there is not much Skype can do to fix your problem.

By the way… I am no admirer of SkypeOut. It is a PR and technical embarrassment.



Skype power user February 14, 2005 at 2:02 am

Having some irritating problems with SkypeOut billing.
Contacted them on Feb 2nd about credit plans for businesses, and still haven’t received any reply.

The guys at the live support chat can’t give any relevant information.


Michael Jones February 14, 2005 at 4:41 pm

I have been using Skype for about 3 months. Internet calls are great, even conference call quality is excellent. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for SkypeOut. I am in Australia and have tried it on calls to Europe, USA, New Zealand and within Australia for interurban and mobiles. Voice delay, low volume, break-up and drop-out are all common. It’s a pity for Skype if they keep their free business and lose their paying customers.

Nevon February 16, 2005 at 3:30 am

>> By the way… I am no admirer of SkypeOut. It is a PR and technical embarrassment. <<

I agree, Bill. It’s a pity Skype don’t seem to be able to provide the timely feedback to customers. Maybe they are simply overloaded, although that’s no excuse.

After I posted my commentary on problems calling via SkypeOut to Costa Rica, I had an email from someone at Skype (I won’t mention the name here) saying he’d look into the problem. Clearly Skype read my post.

As I posted subsequently on Monday, suddenly the call problems I described disappeared – all SkypeOut calls to CR now get through just fine.

But I’ve heard no more from the man at Skype. I’ve emailed, even send a voice message (he also has the voice messaging beta; well, he does work for Skype!). No response.

Not very good at customer relationship development.

I’m very positive about Skype generally. I’ve written lots of commentary on my blog. While this poor relationship experience won’t influence what I think or write about the technical aspects of the service, it’s certainly influencing my views on what I think of Skype as a service provider. Pretty awful, actually!

I’m now giving Teleo a go as well, by the way.

thekjs March 29, 2005 at 4:38 pm

I’ve been using skypeout ever since it became available, the quality is spotty. By that I mean it varies from call to call, overall it has been decent.

The thing to note is there is no consistently good or bad places to call to, so I am assuming the poor quality at times is network related. I use it locally here in the US and then to call countries within the EU.

Regarding not being able to handle payments especially US credit cards that stinks. Knowing the local VCs who have backed Skype I think the issue is not a simple payment processing issue. My hunch is that the issue has gotten complex because of their EU registration, which imposes a set of rules US credit companies by law may be restricted from complying with.

Allen MacDonald April 4, 2005 at 11:12 am

I joined Skype last week and the service (quality of calls) was excellent!….that is until I paid for a SkypeIn number and put 20 Euros on my account. After the first week of excitement, they seem to have given my account worse connections. Now I cannot use SkypeOut at all. Not for business, not for private calls. The quality is too poor. Skype, to me, is a scam. A not-ready-for-primetime service that seems to be desperately trying to get funds by giving new users the best service by somehow giving them connection priority.

Brian Pribis April 20, 2005 at 12:45 pm

I used skype to skype with a friend in the office just to check it out and WOW! We loved it. The quality was awsome. So I went ahead and got some skypeout credit to use it for international calls as well as local long distance calls here in the states. Again WOW! Only for a different reason. It was so horrible that I couldn’t even hear a full word of the other person. The noise and quality was so bad that it was completely unusable. I tried several times and it didn’t improve. I sent off a letter to Skype requesting a refund. It simply isn’t worth the few cents I would be saving. (Not that saving money was the biggest deal. I’m 100% geek and the thought of using my wireless PDA for phone calls was to fun to pass up. But if it isn’t usable then I don’t have the time).

Pete Maughan December 21, 2005 at 5:30 pm

I haven’t had good quality with skypeout at all. Even in the US. I’m still waiting…I wonder if I’m doing something wrong, but I’m just making the call and getting horrible screeching such that we can’t even understand each other


MidEast October 8, 2006 at 4:01 am

I have been using Skype Out for a couple of years now calling on a DSL line from the Middle East to the States. Normally it works quite well but for the whole month of Sep and in to Oct (2006) it is utterly useless. When I dial, the number rings, the other party answers and my minutes tick away but there is no voice. After 10 seconds Skype automatically shuts it off. I have tried for 3 days to access any part of their website but it can’t be found. Emails to are all rejected. Does anybody know what’s going on with them??

Natasha October 15, 2006 at 7:30 pm

I been having problems with buying skype minutes. I have been using skype for the past couple months and never had a problem untill recently. The past three weeks I have been able to buy any minutes, I have tried varies credit cards and always the same problem after the security page it goes blank. I have tried a good 20 times and always the same problem. I don’t know if it fixable or if it a problem with skype. Please let me know, I need help.
Thankyou, very fusterated

Brian Wallis October 15, 2006 at 8:10 pm

I’m in Thailand and have called USA, and NZ many times. About 80% of calls drop off after 2 to 5 minutes. Complaints to Skpe not answered.
Also there are long delays like 3-5 seconds leading the person called to hang up. Useless!

Antony Clark October 17, 2006 at 2:56 am

Skypeout stopped working for me in about September 2006. Before then it had worked reasonably well. Now I can still hear others quite well, but they can hardly hear me at all, whether they are in Australia of the UK (I’m in China). I suspect it’s all a plot by the Telecoms to make me go back to using their expensive services.

Cattlady October 26, 2006 at 8:05 am

skype offered free landline calls if I brought credit but has not happened and are not answering e-mails anyone else having problems

Jorge October 26, 2006 at 8:25 pm

I bought $10 it says it is delivered. The credit is not reflected I cannot make calls. This is very frustrating!!! I hope they listen to all the buzz about it on the web

David Carter October 28, 2006 at 12:02 pm

I am using Skype in the UK to call UK landlines and mobiles, making about 200 business calls a week. Calls to landlines are usually excellent, but calls to mobiles are usually dire. They generally suffer from call breakup. I wonder whether this poor quality to mobiles is a known problem, and does anyone have any ideas about how to improve things?

Derek March 5, 2007 at 1:56 pm

.138 cents for 40 seconds is about 1 cent for a 5 minute call. That’s not bad.

Lindsay Dunseith March 8, 2007 at 1:23 pm

We have also had problems with skype out and thought that it was just because our internet connection was less than perfect.
I have had major problems with trying to buy skype credit. After numerous failed attempts I did process the purchase but it is not credited to the skype account.
We also have problems with skype online. Perfect connection for about 5 to 10 minutes, then I cannot hear the other person, have to close the call and redial. Too many users? Low bandwidth?

Francesco April 16, 2007 at 4:11 pm

Money for nothing!
Recently I started using SkypeIn and then bought SKype Out – seeing what a great deal Pro was, I upgraded to SKYPE PRO.

Here are the problems.
1. I am based in the USA and have bought a US local number in MN and also an International SkypeIn number in the UK (for family to call me). All is great,,,, except, I cannot recieve calls on the local MN number when callers call in state or for free. It appears that the number will not except local (free) call connections. THe number works for long distance and cells but not Local – I have reported this and no answer from the helpful people at SKYPE!
2. On upgrading to PRO – I am supposed to recieve free National calls for 5 months – Not the case, I am being charged for every call and connection. Again no help or response from SKYPE.
3. Bearing in mind the sercive they sell – why is it impossible to talk to a Skype employee? Discuss the issue get it fixed or get a re-fund??

Its a shame, a potentially great service and product – which provides the same poor customer service as Qwest!

Patrick McGrath June 14, 2007 at 3:37 pm

Skype OUT – a bitter lemon

I too have had trouble with SKYPE OUT. Being unable to be heard after the connection is made makes my SKYPE OUT call an expensive exercise at 5.6 euro cents connection fee – more when dialling a mobile phone number.(17.6 euro cents).

As for technical support, forget it. It seems that it is always the ‘network’s fault’.

So yes to SKYPE FREE, no to SKYPE OUT

Sad No SkypeOut September 21, 2007 at 3:19 am

I’ve always had problems with Skype Out, Its just unreliable. It’s not a good service, you just can’t trust it to work. It’s not reliable. So yes I have problems with it in the last 30 days.

M. Joelast Sakti November 8, 2007 at 3:35 am

I live in Indonesia and had been using skype for the past three weeks to call or video call to my fiancee in Amsterdam, my billing just came today and for a call and video call that been made in the past three week my internet provider charge me us$400. Skype never informed it in their website or in the customer agreement that a call or video call are using so much bandwith, please feel free to correct me if i’m wrong. Thanks.

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