How to Get More From your Voip Phone With Non-voip Friends

By: Jon Arnold

Having a VOIP phone is absolutely good news. No more worrying about how long you've been talking to grandma or Aunt Louise at the other end of the country, knowing that your long distance bill at the end of the month may require a second mortgage. As a bit of background, a VOIP phone allows you to make and receive calls via your high-speed Internet connection, where a majority of households already have a high-speed Internet connection anyway, and this is just making additional use of it. VOIP phone service works exactly like a traditional phone, except that with most VOIP services, the price includes "unlimited" long distance minutes within the continental US. And all this for a price that is frequently lower than just the cost of getting a plain old dial tone from the phone company.

Oh, that "unlimited" thing? It's not really unlimited. Most VOIP services will start to question you when you exceed about 3000 to 4000 long distance minutes in a month, thinking that maybe you are using it for business or perhaps even using an auto-dialer with it. But even so, unless you are a convicted talkaholic, that is more than enough minutes per month for most residential users. I mean, that is almost 2 hours of talk time every day for the entire month.

The biggest problem with VOIP, about 99% of the time, is not the VOIP service, but a crummy high-speed connection. Cable Internet is generally pretty good because it does not have a distance limitation, but DSL can get incredibly poor if your home is too far away from the DSL provider, like more than about 2.5 to 3 miles.

Ok, let's say that you have good VOIP service and a good reliable high-speed Internet connection, how can you make better use of your VOIP service? One way that very few customers are aware of is via the use of Virtual Numbers. Some VOIP vendors provide as many virtual numbers as you want for a couple dollars a month. Others like SunRocket provide a virtual number for free with the service. Let's look at how these work to your benefit.

Say you live in Chicago, so your VOIP phone has a local Chicago number. Now say your sister lives in Seattle and your grandma lives in Houston. You can call them for free with your unlimited VOIP service, but if they call you, since they do not have VOIP phone service, they are paying long distance charges.

So you get two virtual numbers from your VOIP vendor, which gives you a Seattle number and a Houston number. Yes, you get phone numbers that are LOCAL to Seattle and Houston, but when someone calls that number, the call rings at your VOIP phone at your house in Chicago. So now your sister in Seattle can call a local Seattle phone number (your virtual number) and your grandma in Houston can call a local Houston number, and in both cases the call will ring up your VOIP phone in Chicago. Is that cool or what?

Check with your VOIP vendor to see what the cost of a virtual number is from them, and then determine if it is worth the cost based on the long distance charges that your long distance non-VOIP friends would incur. You're already making use of the latest technology with your VOIP phone service, so now just make use of all the functionality that it can offer you to your benefit.

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