A home VoIP system converts your call into voice packets before using your existing broadband Internet connection to complete the call. Home VoIP is a great way to save on your monthly phone bill because your calls are completed via your broadband Internet connection; and therefore, your calls are cheaper and of a higher quality than a traditional phone system. Compare and contrast our residential VoIP providers below and start saving on your home phone bill today!
What is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)?
VoIP is an affordable and reliable phone system that can seamlessly replace your outdated phone system.
Voice over Internet Protocol (more commonly referred to as VoIP) 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 VoIP essentially replaces your outdated copper wire phone system with reliable, flexible, and affordable digital technology.
The availability of high-speed Internet in homes and high competition in the phone market has made VoIP a prime choice for low-cost, high-quality communication. Even conventional phone companies are using VoIP in your landline service now without telling you!
What are the Benefits of VoIP for Homes and Residential Use?
VoIP is a quality home phone service that is affordable, feature-rich, and easy to set up.
VoIP will help you save money on your phone bill.
A standard consumer's phone bill is around $20.00 to $40.00 a month, not including the cost of any extra features. For instance, a landline service might charge around $5.00 per month for a feature like voicemail.
But with VoIP, a majority of features are included with your service for free. Common features like voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, and more are all available with a VoIP service.
For comparison, let’s take a look at a traditional PSTN/POTS service:
A traditional landline service is inflexible and normally includes only inbound and outbound calling. Any features you wish to add on are an extra cost to you. On top of this, traditional phone services normally come with hidden fees, have zero portability, and require a setup and/or installation fee.
But a residential VoIP phone service costs around just $10.00 a month and comes with all of the basic features a residential customer could need. It is the perfect solution if you are looking for affordability, customization, flexibility, and quality.
Select VoIP service providers even give you a free second line with your residential VoIP subscription. Certain providers also offer more features than the ones listed above, so check with the provider for a full feature list.
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. Instead, the 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, which is why long distance and international calls are expensive.
Meanwhile, a VoIP call is compressed and decompressed over the Internet. It merely has to travel further (latency increases over distance).
What's the Difference Between Home VoIP and a Traditional Landline?
VoIP has several advantages over a traditional landline that make it more appealing to residential customers.
A VoIP solution trumps traditional landlines in several ways:
The first is obvious: you can save up to 80% on your phone bill. Residential VoIP plans are much more affordable, and can be even cheaper if you sign a long term contract!
Third, local and long-distance calls are on the same plan for the same rate. Plus, select providers even offer low per-minute (or even free!) international calls.
Emergency Calling (E911) on VoIP versus a Traditional Landline:
Because you are not bound to a physical location with VoIP, you must use a different emergency system known as E911. E911 sends your registered address to 911 dispatchers so personnel can find you in the event of an emergency.
VoIP service providers are required to have an E911 service, but consumers must remember to set this up themselves. Ensure that when you switch to VoIP, setting up your E911 is one of your top priorities.
Power Outages on VoIP versus a Traditional Landline:
VoIP phones also need a power source in order to work. This is because VoIP phones use the Internet as a means of connectivity. Most Internet connections tend to use external power sources; and so when the power goes out, the Internet does too.
You can keep your Internet and your VoIP phone up and running with a backup battery for both your router and your VoIP phone.
What Sort of Pricing is Available for Home VoIP?
The prices offered by residential VoIP providers are very competitive and affordable.
With VoIP, you can get a good deal on a monthly (or even yearly) phone service. You’ll even see prices below $10.00 a month, such as ITP's special offer through VoipReview. Other service providers have discounts if you pay for a full year, or include a free second line with your telephone subscription (like ITP).
There are some fees to keep in mind that aren’t included in the service provider’s deal. For one, a VoIP service always has taxes and fees on top of the monthly cost. Other fees are dependent on how you use your VoIP service. For instance:
You may have to pay to port your original number (referenced as number portability) over to your new VoIP service (usually a one time fee of anywhere from $5.00 to $15.00).
If you want an extra phone number and your plan doesn't include one (usually around $10.00 to $20.00 a month).
If you want a toll-free number, you will have to pay extra (usually around $5.00 a month with per-minute rates).
You will be charged or you service may be terminated if you exceed the Fair Usage Policy on an unlimited plan.
Home VoIP Buying Guide
Some tips to help make your VoIP purchase much easier.
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 on various providers. How reliable is their service? Was customer service helpful? How is the call quality?
Research the companies that interest you. Compare their plans. What features come with a VoIP 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 are allotted for an unlimited monthly plan.