Using Skype on the move
Just because Skype needs an internet connection doesn’t mean you can’t take it away with you. The whole world is going wireless and Skype is moving along with it.
A Mi-Fi or even a wireless connection on a train or aircraft is all you need to get Skype up and running. Read on to find out how.
On the plane
Using local Wi-Fi
Before we start this one, a warning: it isn’t going to be cheap. There is local Wi-Fi now on a lot of airlines. There is a full list of which services provide Wi-Fi or even cellular connections here.
Some provide access for a flat fee for a fixed period of time; others use your phone or tablet’s data connection. Those which use data connection tend to apply international roaming charges and add them to your phone bill. If this is the case, think again about Skype voice and video because it will cost a lot of cash.
Tips for the plane
Our major tip for Skype on the plane would be to keep any calls you make to an absolute minimum. Data is incredibly expensive when roaming and Skype can be a touch data intensive on the video front especially.
If you absolutely have to Skype on the plane, then the way to do it is by using an airline that provides unlimited browsing for a set period. Lufthansa appears to be the only one. It charges around £15 for unlimited browsing, making Skype while flying a genuine possibility.
On the train
Using local Wi-Fi
A lot of train networks across the UK provided free Wi-Fi, or a paid-for option. Virgin, National Express, Heathrow Express and Grand Central Trains all offer Wi-Fi. The Eurostar has Wi-Fi in its St Pancras Terminal.
On the Tube in London, Wi-Fi is available across a lot of the main stations in the centre of the city. You will lose signal when you go from station to station, however, so expect any calls you are making to drop. We recommend using the chat function of Skype on underground Wi-Fi.
For trains, some offer unlimited Wi-Fi in first class - Virgin trains, for example. Unlimited browsing means you should get enough bandwidth to at least make a voice call. Make sure you turn off any background downloads or programs using the internet.
Tips for the train
Don’t forget, not everyone needs to hear the ins and outs of your Skype chat on the train. Use a headset or refrain from making calls.
If you are just chatting, either turn off the volume of your laptop or alternatively set your Skype to "do not disturb mode by clicking the status icon. This will stop any pop-ups or audio feedback coming from your Skype app.
In the car
Using a Mi-Fi
The best way of getting Skype up and running in the car is with a Mi-Fi. Phone networks such as Three offer 15GB of data for around £15 a month, if you want faster 4G internet for that ultimate video quality. Prices for an EE Mi-Fi start at £12.99 for 1GB of data.
Buy a car with a data connection
Some cars are now starting to ship with their own data connections. General Motors in the US for example plans on launching vehicles with 4G modems inside. Some manufacturers enable you to create a local Wi-Fi network from a smartphone that anyone can connect to.
Tesla’s Model S, a car that recently impressed us a lot at CES, has its own built-in 3G connection, letting you Skype anywhere.