Unlimited Long Distance Calling with VoIP

By: Debbie Jacobsen

To compete with the growing VoIP internet phone service market, traditional land line companies are now adding unlimited long distance calling plans to their offerings. In my area, this service is being advertised for around $40 per month. If your long distance bill normally runs higher than this, you might consider this a bargain price - until you see what the alternatives are.

I have a friend who normally spends around $60 a month on long distance, with some months reaching over $100. This is not an uncommon scenario in today's mobile society. At $40 per month, her phone company's unlimited long distance calling plan would easily save her $240 a year. This is quite a bargain, but she could save even more by switching to a non-traditional telephone service like VoIP. VoIP technology relies on the inexpensive internet to route calls, as opposed to expensive PSTN (public switched telephone network - also known as a "land line"). Internet phone service has been around for several years, but the technology is near perfect  now and the quality/reliability is suitable for everyday residential phone use.

Cable television companies are now offering unlimited long distance calling (which includes unlimited local calling as well) for around $40 per month in my area. If my friend were to disconnect her land line phone service and switch to cable VoIP, she would save even more money - around $300 per year. Since disconnecting telephone service means she can no longer use dial up internet, she will have to cancel this and get cable internet too. Cable internet costs more than dial up, so we have to take that into consideration.

Here's a breakdown of her cost savings with this scenario:

Current Land Line Phone + Dial Up Internet

Basic monthly phone service = $25

Average monthly long distance = $60

Dial up internet service = $20

Total monthly phone + internet = $ 105

Annual phone + internet = $1260

Cable Internet + cable phone service (disconnect land line phone)

Phone service (with unlimited l/d) = $40

Broadband internet = $40

Total monthly phone + internet = $ 80

Annual phone + internet = $ 960

Total annual savings vs.

current with Cable VoIP= $ 300

VoIP phone service through the cable company will save my friend $60 more a year than the phone company's unlimited long distance plan. That's quite a bargain, and she will get high speed broadband internet too! Also, with the internet phone service she'll get a lot of bonus features that she would have to pay extra for with traditional phone service. Most VoIP phone service includes free voicemail, caller id, call waiting, call forwarding, 3 way conference calling, etc... Whether she chooses to use them or not, the features are included if she wants them. Unlimited local and long distance is a great deal through the cable company, but there is yet another option that will save even more...

Unlike cable companies, who offer internet phone service as an "add on" item, true VoIP providers focus totally on internet telephony. VoIP service providers are the pioneers in the industry, and internet phone service is their forte. These companies offer even better deals on unlimited long distance calling, and have the most experience with VoIP. There are several VoIP providers to choose from, but since I subscribe to Packet8 I'll continue the savings example with them.

offers unlimited local and long distance calling for a mere $20 a month. Just like cable VoIP, they also give you all the extra features for free. If my friend were to get broadband internet through her cable company, subscribe to Packet8's unlimited plan and disconnect her land line phone - she would save a whopping $540 per year! Now that's what I call a bargain. As an added benefit, she will never have to see another long distance phone bill again.

Here's how it breaks out:

Cable Internet + Packet8 phone service (disconnect land line phone)

Phone service (with unlimited l/d) = $20

Broadband internet = $40

Total monthly phone + internet = $ 60

Annual phone + internet = $ 720

Total annual savings vs. current with Packet8 = $ 540

As you can see, it's easy to save money with unlimited long distance calling. The type of service you choose determines how much you will save. If you never want to pay long distance charges again, you don't have to. Put the extra money away, buy yourself a special treat or pay off some bills - and then make all the long distance calls you want for free!  Before deciding on a VoIP provider, be sure to review pricing and packages at .

? Copyright 2005, Debbie Jacobsen. All rights reserved. This article may be reprinted without permission as long as it remains intact and includes original live links.

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