Picking a good VoIP provider
The rising cost of traditional phone lines has forced many people to switch to VoIP phones. VoIP stands for voice over internet protocol. This means you need high-speed internet in order to make and receive phone calls. Choosing the right VoIP provider can be a difficult task. Vonage is one of the most-popular VoIP providers out there, along with hundreds of others.
To pick a good VoIP provider, add up how much money you are currently spending for your existing phone service. How much are you paying in long-distance and international calls? Do you need to pay more money for caller ID and call waiting? The VoIP providers can beat the price of the phone company because many of them will offer free features like call waiting and caller ID. Most VoIP fees range from $10-$50 a month. One thing you need to check on is the type of calls you can make. While you may get a low rate, you might only be able to make calls to individuals that are within their network.
Again, find out how much it costs for additional features. The more features you add, the more money you will pay. Some VoIP providers will charge more money to individuals that want voicemail and call waiting.
A big downside to VoIP is that not all providers offer 911 services. For emergency reasons, it may be a good idea to have a cell phone in the home. If the VoIP phone is your primary phone line, you need to add E911 services. Some providers offer this for free while others will charge a fee of $5.00 a month or more.
One thing you must keep in mind with VoIP services is that if you lose power or your internet service goes down, you will lose your phone line. However, the benefit to VoIP is that you can access it from anywhere as long as you have internet access. Talk to your VoIP provider about transporting your current phone number to your VoIP phone. Some companies can keep your number while others will not be able to.
Technical support is a big thing you need to consider when you are deciding on which VoIP provider to choose. There are some VoIP providers that will charge you a monthly service fee or a per-call fee when you contact their customer service department. Vonage and the large companies will wave this fee.
Ask the VoIP provider where they are located. Normally this doesn't matter, but it helps to have a provider that is in the same country as you. If you don't, you will get a delay in your calls. Having short delays in important conversations can cause frustration and confusion. Take a look at their service areas when you are finding the right VoIP provider as this can help you determine how expensive your long-distance calls will be.
When you are talking to the VoIP provider, ask them about unlimited local and long distance calling. Many of them will provide unlimited calling and then charge a higher rate for long distance. Others will limit your calls to a certain number of calls per month.
A VoIP service tends to offer higher quality service. The voice quality is crystal clear, which helps to eliminate confusion or "dropped" calls. In order to get the crystal clear service, you do need to have a good high-speed internet connection. Some other things you need to ask the VoIP provider is their fax capabilities, call filter options, videoconferencing, teleconferencing, E911, caller ID, call waiting, return call, call routing, and three way calling features.