A 2018 report from the Los Angeles Times has found that more than half of all U.S. households have ditched traditional landline phones in exchange for cellular service. As landline companies struggle to maintain massive and aging infrastructures that were built before the internet, they are now being forced to charge higher prices to their dwindling customer base.
Thankfully, there's still a very affordable solution for customers who want landline-type services in their home — VOIP.
What Is VOIP Service?
Voice Over Internet Protocol or VOIP is an Internet-connected service that allows users to make and receive phone calls through their already active internet service. The service works almost exactly like landline service while adding many additional perks customers love.
The Cost Of VOIP Service
One of the best aspects of VOIP services is the low operating costs and flexibility in pricing. While prices vary by provider, there are typically two types of cost structures.
The best-in-class VOIP providers operate with a low monthly fee. Typically starting at around $9.99 per month, these services offer unlimited incoming and outgoing calls to the United States and some add in free bonus areas such as Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.
Calls made outside of specified areas typically require additional fees. Here's the good news, international calling is typically cheaper via VOIP services than you have experienced with traditional hardwired phone lines.
Many VOIP services will also provide customers with a free phone adapter that connects to their homes internet connection, thus allowing you to make calls right away.
Keep Your Number
If you're tired of seeing your phone bill price rise but you don't want to lose your longtime phone number you're in luck. VOIP services allow you to move your phone number from your old provider to your new account. A simple form with information about your current provider will help you make the move in a matter of minutes.
The Same Features As Traditional Phone Service
Cloud Communication Advisor notes that VOIP services now include popular features such as Caller ID, Call Waiting, Anonymous Call Block, and 3-way Calling.
If you've become accustomed to using your phone line in a certain way, you are unlikely to notice any differences in service when you switch to VOIP. In fact, some services such as voicemail transcriptions sent to your email might actually provide an added bonus depending on which service provider your choose.
On The Go? VOIP Has You Covered
The most popular modern-day VOIP services provide smartphone apps that allow you to stay connected with your home phone number even when you're on the go. That means you'll never miss an important call because you gave out your home number instead of a cell phone number.
Further, some companies that provide VOIP adapters allow for travel privileges. For example, you can take your VOIP adapter on a cross country trip, plug the adapter into your hotels hardwired internet service (where available) and continue to receive phone calls outside of the home. Moving? The same principle applies and ensures an easy of phone service transfer when desired.
Our review of the top 10 VOIP providers in the United States found that none required a contract to get started. Filling out a simple online form is all it takes to get started with VOIP service.
If you do choose to sign a one-year contract, the average cost of the most popular services all fell below $10 per month. Compared to the cost of home phone service, the pricing for VOIP is impossible to beat. In fact, VOIP is oftentimes less than half of what customers are currently paying with traditional phone services.
A Few Simple Requirements
Fit Small Business notes that VOIP service doesn't require an incredibly fast internet plan. Customers who have internet with at least 3Mbps upload speeds typically qualify for the best providers. In almost all cases, that upload speed is provided by modern-day internet providers ranging from Comcast and Time Warner to Spectrum and Mediacom.
You'll also need a phone. VOIP providers offer adapters, often at no charge, that will connect your phone to your already installed internet router. Once connected, you can make and receive calls just as you always have on your more expensive landline phone.
If you want to use the same number at home and as a secondary number on your cell phone, you'll also need to download your VOIP providers smartphone app. Your VOIP provider can help you determine your needs and get you set up.
With low costs, easy setup, and additional free services, VOIP can save you money while providing a lot of added new convenience.