Last month I went over on my cell phone plan and ended up being charged $49 for a single 122 minute call. I started thinking of ways to save myself peak time minutes, so I checked out the calling plans over at Skype. I'm not new to Skype, I've used it to talk to distant relatives for years. I've only used the PC-->PC feature, which is entirely free.
Anyway, I sprung for Skype Pro and the Skype-In number. Together I believe it was about $5 a month to have an additional phone number, voice mail, and unlimited calling to the continental US. I kind of assumed that my number would show up on the recipient's Caller-ID but it turns out this isn't a feature available in the US. Rumor has it, if Skype provides Caller-ID on out-calls, it has to then provide E-911 (emergency) service.
So is this VOIP service neutered just enough to where the regulatory agencies don't require it? How about letting people think for themselves. Skype probably should give us E-911 service, but I really don't care. I just want it to stop showing up as "UNAVAILABLE" when I call someone. Hmph.
On the other hand, I did a conference call (aka party line) yesterday which was awesome. I had 6 of my friends on at once, and it didn't cost me anything. Skype has some awesome, lovable qualities (such as versions of the program for several types of Linux).
Overall, I'd have to give Skype four out of five stars. It does seem very reliable, and calls drop much less frequently than what I've experienced on cell phones. Sound quality is good. The huge conferencing abilities are awesome. The voicemail is great (too bad you can't check it from another phone line though).