While discussing money saving tips with some colleagues today, all were amazed at the incredible savings and benefits that are achieved by making a simple switch to broadband phone service. For people like me who have cable internet service (I use Roadrunner), it makes good economical sense to leverage this high speed internet connection and also use it as a replacement for land-line telephone service.
Cost Savings with VoIP
Before switching to Packet8 VoIP service, I paid around $40 a month for local telephone service and an average of $50 a month for long distance calls. Meanwhile I pay $40 a month for cable internet. My total monthly cost for internet plus telephone averaged $130, or $1560 per year. Now I use Packet 8 for unlimited local and long distance calling over my cable connection for only $24 per month (which includes all taxes, fees, and enhanced 911 service). Combined with my $40 per month cable internet cost, my total annual expenditure for phone plus high speed internet is $888. Switching to internet phone service resulted in an instant savings of $672 per year for me.
Additional Benefits of VoIP
In addition to the financial benefits of VoIP internet phone service, there are a lot of extra “perks" that you get when you use broadband phone. All of the top VoIP providers include a rich package of free telephone features with every internet phone service subscription. Although features vary from provider to provider, you can expect to get the following features for free with just about any good VoIP provider: Voice mail, call waiting, caller id, call blocking, call forwarding, voicemail to email, call return, three way conference calling, and online account management/feature management (you can turn on/off any features you want to totally customize your telephone service).
Unlimited Local and Long Distance
Although most VoIP carriers offer a limited as well as an unlimited calling plan, most people get the unlimited local and long distance calling plan, which normally includes calls to Canada. It is generally only a few dollars more a month to get totally unlimited calling, which allows you to talk as long as you want for absolutely no additional charge. This is a nice feature to have, especially when you have a lot of long distance friends and relatives.
Cheap International Calling
All VoIP carriers offer extremely cheap international rates, making internet phone service the most economical way to talk to loved ones in other countries. Some VoIP providers like Packet8 and Lingo offer unlimited international calling plans as well.
Portability of VoIP
Another great benefit of broadband phone service is its portability. You can take your VoIP phone with you wherever you move to, and can even keep the same number. All that’s required on your part is a broadband connection. You can also have several “virtual phone numbers", allowing you to have a main number in your local area code and another number in a totally different area code. This is really handy if you live far away from family, but want to make it easy for them to stay in touch by providing them with a “local number to use. For businesses that want to have a local presence in different states, virtual numbers are the cheap way to do it. Most carriers charge around $5 a month for each additional phone number.
As for quality of service, I can personally vouch for Packet8 as this is the VoIP carrier I use. I have used Packet8 as my one and only internet phone service for more than a year now, and have never had any serious quality issues with the service. Occasional issues such as “echo" or “fast busy" can quickly be corrected by unplugging the voip router for a minute. This “resets" the connection and has always cured any issue I have had. If all else fails, Packet 8’s technical support staff is fast and efficient.
Judging from comments left on various VoIP user forums, it seems that the larger VoIP providers like Packet8, Sunrocket and Vonage are having fewer and fewer issues with quality of service as time goes by. Internet phone service is still a relatively new technology, and quickly becoming the telephony method of choice for everyone. Millions of people around the world use broadband phone and hundreds of new subscribers are added every day. VoIP providers (particularly the big ones) are continually making improvements and enhancements to service in order to be your “VoIP carrier of choice".
Debbie Jacobsen is an IT professional and author of SaveOnPhoneService.com – an informative website about Broadband Phone Service. For more information on VoIP, visit her blog: Internet Phone Service - The Future is Here . To learn more about the Packet8 VoIP service she uses, visit savewith8 .