Home VoIP is a great way to save on your phone bill. VoIP uses your broadband Internet to connect calls.
What is VoIP?
Voice over Internet Protocol is a technology that converts your voice into data and sends it over the Internet. It can then be transferred to the traditional public switch telephone network (PSTN). VoIP essentially replaces your phone line with digital technology.
The availability of high speed Internet in homes and high competition in the market have made VoIP a prime choice for low-cost communication. Even conventional phone companies are using VoIP in your landline service now without telling you!
You can learn more about the technical aspects of VoIP if you’re curious.
Benefits of VoIP for Homes
VoIP will save you money on your phone bills.
The your standard phone bill is $20 to $40 a month, not including the cost of any extra features. Landlines might charge, say, $5 per month for a feature like voicemail; VoIP includes the feature for free.
Let’s take a look at an AT&T landline.
For local phone calls, the cost ranges from $19.95 to $26.98 a month. Long distance phone call plans start at $20 per month – this is in addition to your local plan. That’s $40 to $50 a month for basic local and long distance home phone service. If you want features like Caller ID, call waiting, or three-way calling, local rates start at $26 with a $7.50 activation fee.
VoIP phone service costs between $10 and $20 a month, and almost always comes with the basic features a residence could want.
Features often included free in a subscription:
- caller ID
- call waiting
Many VoIP service providers give you a free second line with a subscription, such as Phone Power, and some offer 3-way calling.
Additionally, long distance and international calls are much cheaper with VoIP. Why? Because VoIP doesn’t use the same exchanges and systems that the public switch telephone network uses; a call can be connected through the Internet. A landline call must be passed between stations and stay open at each stop to keep the connection. This process uses a lot of bandwidth, making long distance and international calls expensive.
Meanwhile, a VoIP call is compressed and decompressed over the Internet. It merely has to travel further (latency increases over distance).
Home VoIP vs Landline
VoIP advantages over landline
VoIP beats traditional landlines in several categories:
The first is the obvious: you can save up to 90% on your phone bill.
Second, you get more features with VoIP, again for less money.
Third, local and long-distance calls are on the same plan for the same rate.
Landline advantages over VoIP
On the other hand, a few traditional functions of landline have to be worked around.
Emergency Calling with home VoIP
Because you are not bound to your physical location with VoIP, you must use a different emergency system known as e911. e911 send your registered address to 911 dispatchers so emergency personnel can find you.
The availability of this service does depend on your area and your voip service provider but most VoIP providers do offer this service.
VoIP and Power Outages
VoIP phones also need power to work; this is because VoIP phones use the Internet. Most Internet connections tend to use external power sources. When the power goes out, so does the Internet.
You can keep your Internet and your VoIP phone up and running with a battery backup for your router and your VoIP phone.
With VoIP, you can get a good deal, pretty easily. You’ll see starting prices below $10, such as the 3-month discount from ViaTalk. Other service providers have discounts if you pay for a full year, or a free year with subscription.
There are some fees to keep in mind that aren’t included in the service provider’s deal. For one, service always has taxes. Other fees are dependent on how you use VoIP service:
- You may have to pay to port your original number over to the VoIP service (usually $5 a month).
- If you want an extra phone number and your plan doesn’t come with one ($10-$20 a month or the cost of a new plan).
- You will be charged if you exceed the Fair Use Limit on an unlimited plan.
Home VoIP Buying Guide
There are so many service providers out there it may be difficult to know where to begin. Here are some tips for choosing a service provider that’s best for you.
- Know how many minutes you need, what features you want, and how much you’re willing to pay.
- Read reviews of various providers. How reliable is their service? Was customer service helpful?
- Research the companies that interest you. Compare their plans. What features come with subscription? Do they supply any VoIP equipment, such as phone adapters?
- Read the fine print. Go over the terms and conditions. See how many minutes you are allotted for an unlimited monthly plan (usually 3000-10,000 minutes per user per month).
- Figure out how to rewire your home for VoIP.