Taking a Hard Look: VOIP Service Provider Offerings

by : Jon Arnold

Almost every time you turn around, somebody else is trying to pitch VOIP to you, and with all the VOIP service providers out there, how do you know which one is right for you? If you read the marketing literature and flyers that they put out to get your attention, you would think they are all the best invention since sliced bread and canned beer.

First of all, you need to realize that at the basic fundamental level, almost all of them, at least the major ones, do perform the services as advertised. In more than 90% of the cases where a problem is reported, studies have shown that the problem is not with the VOIP service provider, but rather the problem is with the residential high speed Internet connection.

You see, the VOIP service provider does not guarantee squat about the quality of your high speed Internet connection. They make the ASSUMPTION that it is reliable and stable, with sufficient bandwidth to perform VOIP functionality. But with the extremely large variations in residential DSL and cable connections, and yes even FIOS, reliability and stability of that connection cannot be assumed. And if you only have satellite for your high speed Internet connection, don't even think about implementing VOIP at your home, as it will be a source of grief and frustration on a continual basis.

But if you do have a stable and reliable high speed Internet connection, then how do you decide which one is best for you? The feature set that they have is pretty much the same - unlimited calling in the continental United States, voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, three way calling. For residential VOIP service, what else do you really need?

So if all the features are pretty much the same, let's look at how they are priced. Now this sheds entirely new light on the subject. Vonage charges $24.99 per month. Packet8 and Earthlink VOIP charge $24.99 per month. Comcast and Charter charge $29.99 per month.

There is a better and more cost effective option for you, and the price is only $19.95 per month for even more features than the others offer. For example, in addition to unlimited calls in the continental US, they also include unlimited calls to Canada and Puerto Rico. They also offer a soft phone option where you can use your computer and a high speed Internet connection to make and receive calls. And if you want to sign up for a year at a time, the price drops to under $17.00 per month.

They don't advertise at Circuit City or Best Buy, and they don't include circulars with your Visa and MasterCard statements. Instead of wasting money on that, they pass those savings on to you in the form of a cheaper rate and more service.

When you are ready to implement VOIP at your house, be sure to consider this option and you can see your savings grow even faster with this VOIP service provider. There is little sense in spending more than you need to for anything, and VOIP is certainly no exception to that rule.