VoIP Advantages

Everybody is talking about VoIP being the wave of the future in telecommunications, but what are some of its advantages? This is an easy question to answer, since there are so many advantages to VoIP. We will address some of the major ones in this article.

The most important advantage, and also the most talked-about, is that of cost savings. VoIP provides a significant cost savings over telephone service from the traditional providers. This is particularly true in the area of long distance rates, with many VoIP service providers offering plans with unlimited long distance calling at a low monthly flat rate. Very few traditional carriers offer affordable unlimited service – even if they do the monthly rate is prohibitive for the average consumer. So most consumers end up paying some form of per-minute rate for their long distance.

Most VoIP service providers offer some form of unlimited usage plan, and they range in price from approximately $15 – $30 per month. Yes, that’s right – unlimited long distance for less than $30 per month. These plans are usually restricted to the US and Canada, but some providers offer international unlimited plans as well.

Another area where VoIP provides a significant cost advantage is that of lower basic rates. VoIP providers do not have the overhead costs of maintaining large networks, and they can pass this savings along to the consumer. In addition, VoIP providers are not subject to the regulatory and tax restrictions that are placed on traditional telephone carriers. This lowers their cost of doing business and they can pass this savings along as well. In addition, they are not required to collect the taxes and fees associated with traditional telephone service.

The other area where VoIP service provides significant advantages is that of available features. Because of the fact that VoIP is a digital technology, the feature set is extensive when compared to traditional telephone service. Some of the available VoIP features do not even exist in the traditional market, while others are greatly enhanced. Besides the advantage of having these features available, some of them can be used to achieve significant cost savings as well.

One feature that is unique to VoIP, and can also be used to lower costs, is that of virtual phone numbers. Since VoIP is not geographically based, providers are able to assign any area code that they have available to a given number. This allows you to choose the area code that you want your phone number to have, even if you are not physically located in that area. You will pay a small surcharge for this option, but the cost savings are significant. There are a couple of ways to save money by using a virtual phone number.

If you normally place a lot of long distance calls to a given area code, then you can make any call to that area code a local call by simply choosing that area code for your VoIP phone number. You may not wish to do this with your primary phone number – this would most likely mean that your local area would become a long distance call. But if you make many calls to that area code in a given month, then a second number with the other area code could be added, and you would still save all of the long distance charges to that area.

A virtual phone number can also be used in a reverse manner – if you have a small business, or have a lot of calls to and from relatives in a distant city, then a virtual number could be used to eliminate long distance charges for the people who call you from that area code. You could, in effect, provide your business customers or relatives with a toll-free number to call you.

One feature that is greatly enhanced by VoIP service is that of multi-party (or conference) calling. While this feature is available from most traditional telephone providers, it is quite expensive. Most VoIP providers offer 3-way calling at no extra charge, and some have the capability to bring 3 or more additional people into a conversation. There is one thing that you need to consider when thinking about multi-party calling – each call takes its own little slice of bandwidth. So you will need to make sure that you have sufficient bandwidth available from your high speed Internet connection if you plan to rely on this feature. Some of the VoIP provider sites have a bandwidth checker which can be used to check the actual bandwidth that your connection is providing. You can compare this number against the bandwidth recommended for each call by your VoIP provider.

There are many other available advantages to using VoIP. These include web-based voice mail, which allows you to listen to your voice mail from any pc connected to the Internet, whether dialup or high speed. Also, while traveling, you can access your VoIP service from any PC with high speed access by using a softphone. This allows your phone service to “travel with you”. Because of its digital roots, you can expect even more unique or enhanced features to become available to VoIP users.

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