If you talk to virtually anyone today about telephone calling or long distance calling, the conversation will enthusiastically turn to VOIP service. The reasons are clear — it is much more cost effective and people typically have a tremendous dislike for paying more than they need to for products and services.
VOIP usage is on the rise. In fact, in the early part of last year, the number of new phone activations for VOIP outnumbered the new service activations for traditional phone service for the first time in history. If you are not yet using VOIP service at home, you must be asking yourself if all these people know something that you should get familiar with.
There is a bit of mystery about VOIP simply because it is a “technology product” and there are a lot of people who are not comfortable with modern technology. They do not know how to turn on a computer or tell the difference between a left mouse click and a right mouse click. So maybe VOIP is not for you, but let’s see if we can dig deeper and find out for sure.
VOIP service allows you to make and receive telephone calls using your highspeed Internet connection. But the VOIP service provider does NOT also provide the highspeed Internet connection. They assume you already have that, and to a large degree, most households do have that, at least in the metro areas of cities. If you live in a rural location where DSL or cable is not available, then VOIP is not for you. If your only option for high-speed Internet access is satellite broadband, then I would not recommend VOIP for you either, since satellite broadband is not designed to support that very well at all.
Even if you do have DSL or cable high-speed Internet service, is it reliable? Remember, when your DSL or cable goes out, so does your VOIP connection and you can no longer make or receive phone calls on your VOIP phone. Are the speeds slow? Is the high-speed service “iffy”? Then you either need to find a more reliable provider, or you need to accept the fact that VOIP is not for you.
I did not mean to discourage you from VOIP, but if you are in the situations described above, you are not going to be happy with your VOIP service. When you are talking to someone, you will inevitably drop words and perhaps even whole sentences when you are talking, and may sound like you are talking from the bottom of your bath tub. Note that this is almost always a problem with the quality of your high-speed Internet connection, and is NOT a problem with the VOIP service provider.
Now with all that out of the way, how do you select your VOIP service provider? Start shopping around. Services like Vonage which are available at various places like Best Buy and Circuit City may not be your best choice when you compare features and pricing. The one place to NOT get VOIP service is from your DSL or cable provider. Sure, they would love to tell you about the benefits of having it all on one bill, but what they are not telling you is that you are paying 50% to 100% MORE for your VOIP service, and you are NOT getting 50% to 100% more quality. In fact, you are probably not getting any higher quality at all.
Most VOIP providers have a standard set of features but there are subtle differences which may appeal to you, depending on your needs. For example, for one price you can make unlimited calls in the entire continental US, but some carriers also include Canada, so if that is important to you, then look for that.
Do you need a virtual number? Some VOIP provideres like SunRocket include a virtual number with the basic service. To understand what a virtual number is and the benefit it can provide, you may want to read about virtual numbers at VOIP Virtual Numbers at my web site.
Are you comfortable enough with VOIP service to where you would be willing to commit to a full year up front? If so, the SunRocket plan allows you to pay for a full year up front, which brings the monthly cost down to around $16 per month. Even if you don’t pay for a year up front though, with ANY VOIP provider, make sure that you can cancel without penalty if you find that VOIP service is just not your cup of tea.