Skype allows the user to get a local number for their Skype line, which is available in a number of countries including the United States. Skype users download the program for free, set up a phone number, and are then able to make calls through their computer to regular phone lines or other Skype users. Phone calls to other Skype users over the Skype network are free, while calls to mobile phones and land lines have a cost. To setup cost based calling, you have to create a Skype financial account where you deposit money, either as you go or on a monthly basis, and the money is then taken out of your account based on the number of minutes you use. Though the rate differs depending on where you call, international calls usually run around 2.1 cents per minute. This is significantly less that any mobile or landline carrier.
Skype now offers video phone, as well as both video and audio conference calling, which is why it is quickly becoming the new standard in the business realm. This is hugely beneficial and eliminates the need for complex phone and video systems. Rather, Skype can do all this for free.