Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Broadband VoIP Phone Service; Should You Make The Switch?

Although Broadband VoIP is relatively new, it's become one of the most talked about and used new technologies in recent time. But is it ready for you to make the switch to from your existing phone company? Or even more importantly, why should you switch?

As a small business owner, I asked myself the same questions.
  • Is the service reliable?
  • Can I get 911?
  • What are the advantages?
  • How much will it cost, or save me?
Well, after a year of using the Vonage VoIP service, and testing others (including the more consumer oriented Skype) several months ago I decided to make the switch and move my home and business telephone service to VoIP.

Was it the right move?

Three months after leaving my local phone company, here are my results.

First, there are the cost savings.

Old phone service:

$33.00 base + 0.06 cents per minute long distance. Average bill: $49.00
$49.00 base + 0.06 center per minute long distance + toll free line ($10)
+ incoming toll free calls. Average bill: $72.00 +
$45.00 + toll costs over 500 minutes. Average bill: $59.00

Total communication costs:
Approximately $180 per month.

New VoIP phone service:

Home and Business:
$29.95 base + $5 toll free number + $5 second line. Monthly bill: $39.00 (Includes unlimited long distance in US and 200 minutes of incoming toll free number calls)

$45.00 Average bill: $45

Incoming and outgoing calls, mostly international. Outgoing calls approximately 0.02 per minute world wide. Phone number, approximately $15 per quarter and $5 a month for outgoing toll calls.

New total communication costs:
Approximately $94 per month.
Savings of approximately 50%!

Costs are only one benefit, I've found many more:

Travel: When I travel, I take my laptop and either use my Skype Out service at $0.02 cents per minute, Skype In service for $5 a month, or with my phone adapter, make and receive free calls. I rarely use my wireless phone, saving the costs of overages and usually only take incoming calls from those that have my cell number for conveniece. Most hotels have Broadband service and WiFi hotspots are growing in numbers daily. Skype doesn't require broadband service.

Quality: Sound quality is outstanding on all services I've used, including Vonage and Skype. The calls are at least and usually better quality than my old land line phone service.

Reliability: One of my previous concerns has turned out not to be. Vonage provides a roll-0ver service in case my broadband connection isn't available and routes my calls to my cell phone. Also, I always have my cell phone to call out in case of an outage, which has not occured since I've began using the service.

911: My VoIP provider, Vonage, includes 911 service as long as I am physically at my registered location. If I move, or am traveling for an extended period, I have to register my new location to get 911 service. This 911 service is a benefit to me.


I've only found one, but I'm not sure it's a disadvantage. No phone or telephone book listings (as of this time). Having my phone number out of the phone book may be a benefit, no cold sales calls! :) With so many other marketing avenues available, the phone book may only benefit a certain type of retail business (I don't have a retail business).

Overall, I couldn't be happier with switching over all my phone services to VoIP and will continue to experiment with additional services (like video VoIP and WiFi wireless phone sets) as they become available. I predict more residential and business users will try and eventually switch over to VoIP as the services continue to add features and more reliable services.

If I can help answer questions, feel free to contact me at (remove the AT).

All the best!


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