In 2004 the terms VoIP, internet phone service and IP phone were foreign to almost everyone except technology professionals and geeky computer types. Now most people I talk with are at least slightly familiar with these terms, as the internet phone service market is now starting to take off. Contrary to what many people believe, VoIP is not a new
Significant improvements have been made with VoIP in the past five years, and communications companies have started investing heavily in the
There were around 1.5 million internet phone users in the USA in 2004, and around 2.1 million today according to Telecommunications Industry News. According to various statistics I’ve seen, the number of VoIP users in the United States is projected to be around 17 to 18 million between 2008 and 2010. This in an increase of over 1000% within the next 3 to 5 years! Experts also estimate that by 2007, 75% of long distance calls worldwide will be made via the internet. The US is currently not the biggest user of VoIP
More people are showing interest in obtaining Internet Phone Service because they are starting to hear more about it. This is due in part to more “converted users” raving about the amount of money they are saving and the great features they get for free (I love my VoIP service so much I wrote a website about it!). A greater awareness has also come from increased advertising efforts by major cable and communications companies. Many cable television and phone service companies (like Verizon) have been pouring money into VoIP
In an effort to hold on to their customers, many regular PSTN (public switched telephone network) phone companies are now offering “unlimited long distance calling” for a flat monthly fee of around $39 per month. Current subscribers are starting to cancel their traditional phone service as they are convinced that VoIP is a better option. Not only is VoIP cheaper (under $25 a month for unlimited calling), but most Internet Phone providers throw in all of the optional features for free. Phone companies charge extra for services like voicemail, caller id and call waiting. I think phone companies have missed the boat when it comes to competing with VoIP, but that’s a topic for another article……
With all of the telephone service options now available, it is becoming difficult for consumers to choose the right provider for their needs:
Should you subscribe with a true VoIP service service provider (like Vonage, Packet8, SunRocket, Voip.net, etc…), or should you choose the phone service that your cable company provides? If you compare VoIP provider rates with those of the cable company, “pure” VoIP providers are clearly the winner. Cable companies do provide free installation, but VoIP is really very simple to install. Many cable companies offer discount through “package deals”, but it’s always smart to compare total cost and included features with VoIP providers before making a decision.
Should you switch to VoIP and get rid of your landline phone, or keep what you’ve got and pay for unlimited long distance calling? If you don’t use the internet, keep your landline phone and forget about VoIP for now. To get the most bang for your buck out of VoIP service, you need to have cable internet service. This eliminates the need for a phone line and “dial tone” that you have to pay the phone company for. To use VoIP in the most cost effective way, calls should go through your cable broadband connection – this eliminates the need for standard phone service. VoIP does not work well over dial up internet; you really need broadband in order to get the best audio quality.
Depending on your long distance calling habits, VoIP internet phone service can save you between 20% – 80% per year vs. traditional PSTN phone service. The
VoIP is definitely here to stay, and cost savings is only one of the many benefits it offers. Internet phones will change the way the world communicates. It’s now possible to live in another country and have a US phone number, you can have several “virtual” phone numbers in different states or travel the world and bring your home phone with you. It’s an exciting time in the world of communications – are you ready to switch to VoIP?
(c) Copyright 2005, Debbie Jacobsen. All rights reserved.