A home Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system converts your audio into voice packets before using your existing broadband Internet connection to complete the call. Using a home VoIP phone service instead of a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is a great way to save on your monthly home phone bill because your calls are transferred and completed via your existing broadband Internet connection; and therefore, your calls are more affordable than a traditional phone line. Compare and contrast our residential VoIP providers below and start saving with a home VoIP service today!
What is Home VoIP?
Home VoIP is a reliable Internet-based phone system, available for a low monthly price.
Voice over Internet Protocol (more commonly referred to as "VoIP") is a technology that converts your voice into data packets, sends it over the Internet, and reassembles the packets into audio on the receiving end. In essence, home VoIP technology replaces your outdated copper wire phone system with reliable, flexible, and affordable digital technology.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 home phone market has made VoIP a prime choice for low-cost, high-quality communication. Plus, home VoIP services also come with included features at no additional cost. Calling features like voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, and 3-way calling are often included with a home VoIP service, making it much more appealing to consumers when compared to a Plain Old Telephone System (POTS).
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 residential customer's phone bill ranges from $20.00 to $40.00 a month (not including the cost of any extra features or international calling). Select landline services might charge 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 through a home VoIP service.
For a direct 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?
Home VoIP has several advantages over a traditional landline that make it more appealing.
A home VoIP solution trumps traditional landline service in several ways:
Savings. You can save up to 80% on your monthly phone bill by switching to a VoIP service. Residential VoIP plans are much more affordable, and plans can offer customers additional savings if they sign a long term contract.
Included features. You get more features with home VoIP (and again, for less money). VoIP includes many call management features like conference calling, voicemail to email, and more.
Affordable calling. Local and long-distance calls are included on the same plan for the same rate. Plus, select providers even offer low per-minute (or even free or included) international calls.
You should also take note of Emergency Calling (E911). E911 differs with a home VoIP service when compared to 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.
What Should I Know Before Buying a Home VoIP Service?
There are a few questions to ask to help make your VoIP purchase much easier.
There are so many home VoIP service providers out there it may be difficult to know where to begin. However, VoipReview has compiled a few good questions as a home VoIP buying guide.
Here are some considerations to keep in mind when choosing a service provider:
Know how many minutes you need, what features you want, and how much you’re willing to pay for residential service.
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 home VoIP subscription? Do they supply any 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.