I don't like telephone conferences, no matter if initiated with computer software or not.
But Skype/Hangout/... are okay for pair programming and when you want someone else to take a look at a problem on your computer (screen sharing).
I'm with you. A proper setup is mandatory. That's why we use Skype with a headset and a webcam. Everyone tries to provide a quiet space so that nobody gets annoyed and if anything is disturbing (like a ringing phone, cracking headsets, loud background, etc) we simply tell each other and the problem gets solved almost always immediately.
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