Make free Skype calls for a month

There are no strings attached! Well, you do have to sign up for a Skype subscription, but you can always cancel before the billing kicks in. Of course, you may not want to.

Skype is offering unlimited free calling to dozens of countries and at least an hour's worth of free minutes to others.
Skype is offering unlimited free calling to dozens of countries and at least an hour's worth of free minutes to others. Skype

Thinking of pulling the plug on home phone service? One popular alternative is Skype, which offers free PC-to-PC calling and dirt-cheap calls to cell phones and landlines.

In honor of the World Cup, Skype is offering one month of unlimited free calls to the U.S., Mexico, and loads of other countries. (OK, unlimited to a point--there is a fair-usage policy.)

Basically, you pick a country where you have friends or relatives, then sign up for a Skype subscription. Depending on the country, you'll either get the first month free, or get a fixed number of free minutes. (Brazil, for example, comes with 400 minutes. Other countries are limited to 120 or even 60 minutes.)

After that first month, regular subscription rates apply, though you can always cancel right at the end of the 30 days if you so choose.

To use Skype, you'll need (at the very least) a computer with a microphone and broadband Internet connection. Add a Webcam for video calls. Skype is also available for Android, BlackBerry, and iPhone, meaning you can make calls without using your minutes--and bypass your PC altogether.

This promotion offers a great opportunity to test-drive the service without spending a penny. I'm not quite sure when it ends, though (probably when the World Cup does), so I'd sign up quick if you're interested. And who knows? You might find Skype the ideal alternative to your pricey landline.

If you've had any experience with Skype, good or bad, hit the comments and share, share, share.

Bonus deal: Newegg has the Cradlepoint PHS300 for $84.99 shipped. What the heck is a Cradlepoint PHS300? One of my favorite gadgets, that's what. It can turn a 3G air card into a mobile Wi-Fi hot spot and provide a pay-as-you-go 3G option for your iPad.

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