How to Do a VOIP Comparison to Find your Best Value

By: Jon Arnold

The first thing you need to do when doing a VOIP comparison or a comparison of virtually any other product or service is to understand that lowest price rarely is the same thing as best value. Even many government contracts these days, where they used to be solely focused on lowest price, are changing to consider the aspect of best value, which is rarely the same thing.

Granted, there is no sense in paying more for something than you need to, and there is also no sense in paying for features of a service that you will rarely if ever use. But for basic functionality, I would strongly encourage you to look for the best overall value for a service instead of merely best price, especially when doing a VOIP comparison.

The first thing you need to consider is what features you want with your VOIP service and why you are considering it. With residential or home office usage, implementing VOIP is almost a no-brainer. With a traditional telephone line costing you $25 a month or more and having no more additional features than just a dial tone, justifying the implementation of VOIP services at approximately the same price which also includes the other standard VOIP features of unlimited long distance calling, calling waiting, voicemail, and others truly makes it a bargain. But then again, consider if you need those features - if you never make long distance calls, you don't need voicemail or call waiting, then it makes little sense to use technology such as VOIP simply for the sake of technology.

Even for the small office, VOIP does not automatically mean cost savings. There is nothing automatic about it in terms of cost savings. If your small office is doing less than about 4000 long distance minutes per month, it may not make financial sense to implement VOIP.

Consider that when doing a VOIP comparison, at least one aspect is going to be the same for all carriers, and that is the reliability of your high-speed Internet connection. VOIP services use your high-speed Internet connection to make and receive your phone calls, and without a very reliable, stable, and otherwise rock solid high-speed Internet connection, you are not going to have a pleasant experience with VOIP no matter which VOIP service provider you choose. Note that the VOIP provider has absolutely no control over how reliable your Internet connection is.

When doing your VOIP comparison, make a list of the features you want to have and make sure you are comparing apples to apples when looking at VOIP service offerings. Is unlimited long distance important to you? If so, make sure that is there. Is voicemail important, or call waiting? If so, make sure they are there.

How is the carrier's customer service? There are some carriers where the customer service is so bad that their VOIP service is not a bargain at any price. If you have ever had to get through to Verizon customer service, you know exactly how frustrating that can be, and I don't know about you, but my time is worth something more than listening to elevator music on hold.

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