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Just looking for something basic on which I can receive and make calls as if it were a normal house phone.

My international calls are killing me on my mobile.

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For Skype, you only need an audio device with a speaker and microphone. The "Skype Phone" devices marketed for plugging into your computer are just a USB soundcard in a phone-shaped package, so if you already have a working sound card that has a microphone input, use that with Skype instead.

Skype run nicely on Ubuntu. I usually download the .deb package from the Skype website.

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What do you mean by "works with Ubuntu 11.10"? As far as I know, Skype phones are OS agnostic and only require an ethernet connection.

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Skype can be downloaded to many mobile phones, for example android phones. If your mobile is Internet capable you should be able to install Skype on it. Then you can uses Skype to Skype on your mobile and also Skype-out to ordinary phones anywhere in the world at cheap rates by putting some credit on your Skype account.

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