Is VoIP for me?
There is a way to cut telephone costs with VoIP telephone services without sacrificing any of the quality or reliability you've grown accustomed to over the years. Most Americans use cellular telephones these days and, since people spend the majority of their day outside of their home, home telephones are becoming redundant devices. Long distance calling can get expensive, especially with family, friends or business associates overseas.
VoIP telephone, or Voice over Internet Protocol, services have come a long way in a short period of time. Since the widespread adoption of broadband Internet speed in the home, VoIP services have made it possible to turn your computer into a free telephone (exclusive of your monthly Internet access charges, of course). Now it is possible through Vonage and other providers to use an actual telephone instead of your computer. The phone simply hooks up to your broadband modem through a device provided by your VoIP telephone service.
The average monthly phone bill in the U.S. for a basic telephone with no added services (call waiting, caller ID, etc...) is $22 per month. Each feature you add increases that figure, and that is before long distance calling. If you even make occasional long distance calls, your monthly bill can quickly swell to $50 per month or more. If you make overseas calls, double that figure.
VoIP telephone services vary in price from free to about $25 per month for a phone with all the features like call waiting, caller ID, voice mail and free long distance and international calling. By switching to VoIP services, a person eliminates the monthly fluctuation of their phone bill and replaces it with a fixed monthly fee.
For those concerned about the sound quality and reliability of VoIP telephone services, it is difficult or impossible to hear any difference between a modern VoIP phone and a traditional telephone. One drawback to the VoIP phone, however, is its reliance upon the Internet connection. If there is a power outage or your Internet service goes down, you will lose your telephone service for that period of time.
For the growing number of people who have already discontinued their home telephone service and are using their cellular telephones exclusively, a free VoIP service will allow them to make calls overseas without paying a penny. Perhaps the most common free VoIP service is Skype. While Skype does offer all the pay services of most VoIP service providers, many users find that they can make all the long distance and overseas calls they want using the free service. The only catch is that the person receiving the call must also be registered with Skype, but the number of Skype users worldwide grows exponentially month after month.
In conclusion, if your phone bill is averaging $50 per month or more, it might be time to consider making the move to VoIP telephone services. The hundreds of dollars you will save annually can be put to better use than continuing to pay for thousands of miles of telephone lines that were installed (and paid for) decades ago by the phone companies.