Why is VOIP Phone Service a Great Thing

by : Jon Arnold

There is certainly a lot of excitement these days where many people are talking about the benefits of VOIP phone service. At many colleges across the country, students frequently do not even have a traditional phone in their dorm or apartment but use VOIP services instead. Did you ever feel like they know something that you need to know about?

Let's talk about VOIP and what it can mean for you. VOIP phone service is not without its own set of disadvantages, so be sure you consider all the angles before you run out and sign up for VOIP.

VOIP phone service uses your existing high-speed Internet connection and allows you to make and receive phone calls over the Internet. That is the entire bottom line summary of what VOIP is. But you need to dig under the surface a bit in order to determine if VOIP is right for you.

First of all, not all parts of the country can get a local phone number. If you live in a rural area, chances are that a LOCAL telephone number for your VOIP service is not going to be available. What that means is that if someone local wants to call you, even your next door neighbor, they may have to make a long distance call to reach you.

Can you move or "port" your existing phone number to your VOIP phone service? Supposedly the answer is yes but I do not recommend it. I have seen too many horror stories where the local phone company has screwed this up and then you end up losing the phone number you have had for the last 50 years.

Next you need a high-speed Internet connection. This is NOT provided with your VOIP service. The majority of homes in the US who would be good candidates for VOIP phone service already have a high-speed Internet connection, so it is going to use something you already have anyway. But be aware of two caveats here:

1. A high-speed Internet connection does NOT include satellite. If you have a satellite high-speed Internet connection, do not consider VOIP because you will not be happy. Sure they will SELL it to you but with a satellite high-speed connection, you will not be happy and you will sound like you are talking from the bottom of a bathtub in best case.

2. How reliable is your high-speed Internet connection? If it is not reliable, if it is iffy, if it has frequent outages or if you are getting a very slow speed, perhaps due to the distance limitations of DSL where you are at the very end of the service area, VOIP is not going to work well for you. Remember, if your Internet connection goes out, so does your VOIP service.

Now if you have not been scared away yet, then VOIP phone service might be a good idea for you. VOIP conversation quality is typically as good as or better than your traditional phone conversation. But the big draw for VOIP is the economic considerations. With your phone company, a phone line costs about $25 a month and for that you get a dial tone and perhaps unlimited local calling. That is it and everything else is extra. But with VOIP phone service, you get unlimited calling throughout the entire continental US (some VOIP providers also include Canada), plus caller ID, plus voice mail, plus call waiting, and the VOIP service costs about the same amount of money, and with some VOIP providers, even under $20 per month. Even if they are the same, the fact that long distance is already included in your VOIP service is a huge benefit.

VOIP phone service may or may not be right for you, but once you have considered all the factors, it can save you a ton of money each month.