Skype minutes in Office 365
If you are a Microsoft user and have purchased “Home” or “Personal” Office 365, it means that you also have gotten free 60 minutes for Skype-to-phone calls each month, for as long as you are subscribed to Office 365.
But where is Skype in Office 365? These two products are so different. In fact, this is one of benefits of having all the products tied to one general Microsoft account. There is an article dedicated to Skype connection with Microsoft account, refer to it for more information.
Why would I need free minutes in Skype
In short, since being purchased by Microsoft in 2011, Skype is included into its line of products and services, and they all are managed by one user ID. If you use at least one Microsoft product and have an account in it, this means that you have accounts for them all.
What does this connection mean for a user of this VoIP service? Right now, Microsoft gives active Skype users an opportunity to save money for Skype-to-phone calls. As you know, this VoIP service provides unlimited free calls with voice and video between Skype accounts. The only things you need to have are the free application installed on your computer or a smartphone/tablet and the Internet connection.
However, this does not refer to calls to “usual” numbers, both mobile phones and landline ones. You can use your Skype application to make such calls, but you'll have to pay for them. Though the rates will be lower than the prices of the phone providers, the service may be worth using.
There are two payment methods for such paid calls: credits and subscription. In short, credits are put on your account and remain there to be used only when you call to the usual phone number using your Skype account. This is a good solution for occasional calls.
Unlike Credits, subscription is a service plan where you get a definite number of minutes for calls to definite countries during a month. And this is the special gift of Microsoft for Office 365 new subscribers (unfortunately, bonus minutes are not applied to the old purchases of these packages).
Here we'll describe how to get free Skype minutes if you subscribed to Office 365, but please note that this bonus subscription is provided with the purchase of “Home” and “Personal” packages only. It is not included into “Educational” Office 365 purchases).
Activating the free Skype subscription after the purchase of Office 365 package
First of all, login to your Microsoft account at the official portal and make sure that the Skype account you use matches it. The thing is, if you have Skype and Office 365 under different accounts, the gift subscription will be applied to the account matching the Office 365 registration ID.
When you sign in, choose the Services & subscriptions tab in the top menu. If you made a subscription to Office 365, you'll see it right away. Click the Overview tab in that section.
It will transfer you to all the products and services you have access to. Scroll the page down to the section dedicated to the service and click Get Skype minutes.
Then you will be transferred to the activation page. Read the information describing what you get and click Activate.
The activation process usually takes a couple of minutes. You can check it in both the application and the web browser version.
Go to the Skype official portal and log in to your account. You will see which subscription you have and how many minutes you own: the details will be on the left side.
Or launch the application on your computer or a mobile device and go to Settings menu – Account & Profile – Skype to Phone.
After each call, the used minutes of that subscription will be written off of your account so you will be able to track this from your side. Besides, if you already have another subscription for the Skype-to-phone calls, the free minutes will be added to it, and they will be used on a first-priority basis, and your own previous subscription will come into action only after these free minutes are run out.
However, if you don't use your free minutes during the month, they expire; you can't save them and move to the next month.
In case you purchased your Office 365 package under the account which does not match your Skype account, you won't be able to move the gift subscription to the one you use constantly. However, you still can get your free minutes, because a different account for Office provides the second account for Skype which also belongs to you.
Thus, you can login to Skype under a different account with the credentials belonging to your Microsoft account, and the free minutes included into your Office 365 subscription package will be there waiting for you. We also described how to work with several accounts simultaneously, have a look at that article, it might be useful.
If you wanted to see how to get your Skype minutes in Office 365, this is done with three clicks, and you can now use that part of your purchase to make calls from the application using the VoIP service for usual phone numbers.
Making phone calls from the Skype application using the free minutes
Before making your first call, note that this subscription won't cover the ones that belong to businesses and government agencies. Such numbers are called non-geographical, and they are used for making payments, votes on shows or getting reference information. All such numbers have special codes: 03, 05, 070/076, 080, 0845, 0870, 083/4, 0871, 09, 116 and 118. And emergency calls are not supported by any Skype subscription type, so you can't use your minutes.
As we've understood where Skype in Office 365 is and how these two subscriptions are connected, we can call usual mobile phone numbers or landline numbers using the application even if it installed on a laptop.
Open the application on your computer or a smartphone/tablet and go to the Calls section. Those contacts from your list with mobile phone numbers will have a special icon next to them, the phone handset with the See more option. This marker is present in both the mobile app and the desktop software.
Or you can simply dial the number in the application — this option is available in several places, everywhere with the dial pad icon. For example:
Countries covered by free minutes from the Office 365 subscription
There is an important point that you should note: this gift package from Office 365 includes free minutes for both calls to mobile numbers and landline numbers in 8 countries only. Calls to landline phone numbers only are covered by these free minutes for more than 60 countries.
If you want to call a mobile phone number of a person living in, say, Italy, and you want to use Skype account and its free minutes you received with Office 365, your attempt will be declined. The product will ask you to use credits or purchase a different subscription, because Italy is in the list of countries where you can call to landline phone numbers only.
Below you'll see the exact lists of the countries covered by the Office 365 bonus Skype subscription and the information on which types of phone numbers are supported there.
You can call to both mobile numbers and landline ones using your free minutes in the following countries:
USA, Canada, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Guam, Puerto Rico.
Landline numbers are only available for calls from Skype with the free minutes from Office 365 in following countries:
Australia & New Zealand.
Countries of Europe where you can call to with these free minutes:
Austria, Andorra, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom.
Brunei, Indonesia (Jakarta), South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan.
Central and South American countries:
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia (excl. Lex), Costa Rica, Guadeloupe, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela.
Morocco, South Africa.
Free Skype minutes coming as a part of Office 365 subscription can be very useful, as this subscription covers really great geographical areas.
However, if you still need to call to a country which is not included in this list, or call to a mobile number in a region covered by the “landlines only” subscription, you will need to pay for that call by getting credits or choosing a different “minutes” subscription matching your requirements in addition to this bonus of Office 365.