Over recent years technology has come a long way, and our communication methods have changed radically in the past decade or so. People now use everything from texting and social networking to instant messaging and VoIP in order to communicate with others.
Are you looking to learn more about the best VoIP service? Well, I can offer a great amount of useful information because I have reviewed all of the best services and providers.
There are many benefits that come with using a VoIP solution, from the ability to use equipment that you already own, to the ongoing cost-cutting benefits and valuable features. However, in order to make the most of this technology you need to make sure you select the best VoIP service provider for you. My top 5 should help to make this task more manageable.
What is VoIP?
How Does VoIP Work and What is a VoIP Phone? Millions of people across the world use VoIP services, however, there are still many who have not yet experienced this groundbreaking technology. If you're asking questions like "What does VoIP stand for?," "What is VoIP?" or "What is a VoIP phone?" I've got all the info for you.
The official VoIP definition is an acronym: VoIP stands for "Voice over Internet Protocol." It is a designated category of hardware and software that allows people to use a broadband Internet connection as a means of transmission for phone calls. It works by sending voice data in packets, over the IP, instead of the conventional landline phone method.
In addition, VoIP technology is a type of IP Telephony, or Internet Protocol telephony. IP Telephony is just an umbrella term for making a phone system digital so that it can take advantage of the Internet. IP PBX and VoIP are just part of IP Telephony. As a note: IP PBX, or Internet Protocol Private Branch Exchange, is a form of technology suitable for medium-sized businesses and large businesses. The IP PBX is used within the organization, allowing users to switch calls internally while simultaneously letting these same users to share external lines. Overall, IP Telephony's aim is to increase productivity in the office setting.
VoIP phone services are regulated by the FCC, and a variety of measures are upheld in accordance. The FCC requires calling records to be protected from disclosure, and 911 services are obligatory. Additionally, they require all VoIP providers to contribute to the Universal Service Fund.
VoIP phones are designed specifically to handle VoIP calls, and they convert standard voice data into a digital format that will be used to make VoIP calls. Types of VoIP phones include desk phones and VoWiFi hybrid phones. In fact, some companies feature literally hundreds of VoIP desk phones in their stores. Of course, you can always purchase a VoIP adapter, like the highly inexpensive Google Voice VoIP adapter, if you want to save money.
Key Considerations Before Choosing a VoIP Service
Voice over Internet Protocol has become a popular communication technology, both for businesses and in homes, enabling users to enjoy far more affordable communication through the use of a broadband Internet connection rather than standard phone lines. If you are wondering if a VoIP phone service is a good fit for your business or if you desire a residential VoIP, then keep reading!
Using VoIP technology can provide you with convenience, ease, affordability, and many other benefits.
You can connect your existing home/ office phone equipment to the Internet using special adaptors provided by most VoIP service providers and you're ready to roll. You can also use smartphones, tablets, or your computer in order to utilize this technology to its fullest extent.
Using a VoIP phone system can provide you with convenience, ease, affordability, and many other benefits. If you are considering using this technology here are a few factors you should take into consideration. Though I can help you with the major information regarding the best VoIP service, you should always do thorough research using the provider website.
Things to Keep in Mind About Getting a VoIP Phone:
- How easy the technology will be to set up
- The calling features you get with individual services
- The initial and ongoing cost of VoIP services
- What types of VoIP plans are available
- How good the support and customer service from the provider is
Related: If you need an internet plan beforehand, you can always compare internet providers and plans with us.
5 Benefits of Using a VoIP Service
VoIP phones offer great value and versatility, here's how:
This is a major reason why so many people have opted for VoIP services. Traditional landline phones, like these top-tier home phone services, are not exactly budget-breakers anymore, however VoIP services are so significantly less expensive, especially when it comes to long-distance calls, they can make it unnecessary to pay for a traditional phone service altogether. If you currently have high-speed Internet service - a stable high-speed Internet service is essential for clear calls - connecting can be very inexpensive. This equates to your money being better spent in other ways, or simply just being saved.
2. Unlimited Calls
Many VoIP plans come with unlimited calls in the US, as well as with free international calls with a limited number of minutes and unlimited long distance.
3. Variety of Features
All the standard features you would expect with a landline are available with VoIP, along with much more. Call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding, and three-way calls are available, along with other services such as sending and receiving calls from tablets or computers.
4. Keep Your Phone Number
Some plans/service providers allow you to keep your existing number, and choose your own area code.
This is generally not an issue with VoIP services because strong encryptions are used to protect users against hacking. Though they are not without a small level of risk, they do limit the threat.
The Best VoIP Service Providers
- Very competitive monthly pricing on plans
- Free activation
- A range of more than 20 premium features to increase practicality
- North American calling to Puerto Rico, Canada, and now Mexico
- Select your own area code and number or keep your existing one
- Customers may be charged for advanced features
Vonage is perhaps the most trusted and most known name in VoIP services, and they have managed to provide an excellent level of service to their customers. The voice quality in their calls is often revered as the best, and they offer more advanced features than nearly anyone in the market. Vonage customers will benefit from a wide range of service plans, each of which comes with a practical and useful variety of features. The cost of the plans along with the accompanying features will vary based on the plan you decide to go with.
For customers in North America, which includes the USA, Puerto Rico, Canada, and now Mexico, the Vonage North America plan gets you unlimited long distance calling to anywhere in these locales. Unlimited calling from Mexico can be attained with Vonage access numbers.
Introductory rates are excellent, and often extremely low-priced for those who sign up. Customers have the option to keep their existing numbers at no extra fee where available, or they can get a number that can be theirs for life. Additionally, a 30-day money back guarantee is offered in the event customers are not satisfied or want to cancel for any reason.
For those who want affordability and a package that is suitable for basic or light users, with the highest quality out there, Vonage is a solid choice with excellent options and a trusted reputation. They offer great savings over a traditional landline, and they offer great, modern features that provide a tremendous amount of convenience.i
PhonePower VoIP Review
- Flexible plan and service durations
- Free second line
- Inclusive select international calls
- High outgoing calls allowance
- Unlimited incoming minutes
- Costly early termination fee
- No unlimited outgoing calls
Phone Power is a popular provider of VoIP services. Not only does this provider offer a range of service plans to suit all needs and circumstances, but each of its plans also come with valuable features to benefit users. The provider is known for its excellent performance, reliable services, and functional plans. The range of plans also means that users get to benefit from flexibility, as there are three basic plans offering service durations of two years, one year, or monthly.
Each of the plans is competitively priced, although the longer contract ones do work out to cost much less than those that charge users month by month. The variety of features included with the range of plans includes free in-network calls to others who are with this provider, unlimited incoming minutes, inclusive select international calls, and a second line free of charge.
Outgoing calls are not unlimited but you do get a very generous allowance with these plans, along with 60 free minutes per month for international calls. It is worth bearing in mind that early termination of your contract with Phone Power could prove costly, so make sure you are comfortable with the contract length before you commit.
Phone Power is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau. The reviews of this provider on Yelp average around 3-stars, with some customers perfectly happy with the service while others are not overly impressed with customer service levels.
Despite the high cancellation fee, which is $99, the service and plans available from Phone Power have proven popular among residents and businesses looking to benefit from VoIP.
- A choice of contract periods and plans
- Competitively priced service
- Excellent rating from BBB
- A host of features that come with VoIP plans
- Unlimited calls within USA and Canada
- Mixed reviews due to issues like call quality
Founded in 2004, Voipo is a VoIP provider that offers month by month and annual contracts. The service provides users with unlimited calls within the United States and Canada. There is a fair usage limit on the service, which stands at 5000 minutes, making it perfectly adequate for a wide range of needs. Users of this service can benefit from a free second line along with a host of features, including a free international call allowance.
The provider offers decent customer service and has received the top rating of A+ from the Better Business Bureau, although it is not BBB accredited. Reviews on sites such as Yelp are mixed, with some giving the provider lower scores due to issues such as sound quality and reliability of service. When it comes to contacting this provider, you can use a number of methods including live online chat.
The wide variety of features that comes with the plans from Voipo includes caller ID, call waiting, advanced voicemail, online call history, online voicemail, telemarketer block feature, DND feature, and 3-way calling amongst others. There are over 40 features in total. In addition, the provider offers a 30 day guarantee, which means greater peace of mind for those who take out the plan.
Voipo offers affordable pricing and a choice of contract periods for customers, which are two qualities that will appeal to many people. It is a good, solid provider and although it has mixed consumer reviews, it does come with an excellent BBB rating.
ITP VoIP Review
- Flexible plans for residential and business use
- Plenty of features with all plans
- No need lengthy contract
- Easy set up of services
- Decent customer support network
- Provider charges set up fee
- Mixed reviews over quality/clarity of calls
- Mixed reviews over customer service levels
If you are looking for a VoIP services provider with a diverse array of service plans, you won't be disappointed with ITP. This provider offers no fewer than six service plans to suit the diverse needs and budgets of residential and business customers. Moreover, each of the plans has over 25 calling features, making them versatile, practical and functional. This is a great provider for anyone looking for flexibility, choice, and quality, as it offers all three in abundance.
Whether you are after a basic service plan for use in the home or whether you are after a fully comprehensive business service plan with all the bells and whistles, you should find what you're looking for at ITP. The exact features and number of allocated minutes can vary based on the plan you choose.
However, one thing they all have in common is that they do not require being tied into any annual service contracts. The price also varies based on the plan you decide to go for. However, many of the features comes as standard across all plans, which includes caller ID, voicemail, directly assistance, 3 way calling, hold music, and individual ring settings for different contacts.
Compared to other VoIP providers, the area in which ITP really shines is when it comes to choice. With the variety of plans that it offers, it is ideal for those who are looking for something more specific than the more basic line up that other providers offer.
Phone.com VoIP Review
- Very competitive monthly pricing on plans
- No setup fee to pay
- A range of features to increase practicality
- International calling to Puerto Rico and Canada
- Select your own area code and number or keep your existing one
- No unlimited calling available with the residential plans
- Annual contract required with all service plans
Many people these days have to be more mindful about how much they spend on goods and services. If you are looking for low cost VoIP services with no set up fee, the plans from Phone.com could be ideal for you. You will benefit from a good range of service plans from this provider, each of which comes with a practical and useful variety of features. The cost of the plans along with the inclusive minute allocation will vary based on the plan you decide to go with.
While you can get unlimited calling from Phone.com this is only offered as extensions for its business plans, which means that you cannot get this on the residential plans. However, all the plans do offer international calling to Puerto Rico and Canada. You can also select your own area code and phone number or keep your existing one if you prefer. You will need to sign up for a contract with all service plans from this provider, which is something to bear in mind.
For those who want affordability and a package that is suitable for basic or light users, the Phone.com could prove a good choice as long as you don't mind being tied into a contract.
Questions to Ask
As emphasized earlier, when choosing a VoIP company, it is essential to do your research, via provider website, to see if they are a good fit for your needs, and to ensure that they will value you as a customer.
There are plenty of VoIP providers, such as RingCentral Office, that offer a variety of plans complete with their own incentives. For instance, RingCentral Office allows you to manage the system from smartphone, tablet, and PC. Furthermore, the software is BYOD-enabled with mobile apps and includes toll-free minutes. Other companies, such as Ooma Office, feature VoIP solutions for a small business. In fact, Ooma Office provides customers with enterprise-grade phone service.
Here's a list of things to consider about each company and what you should expect from them:
- Do they offer a variety of methods by which you can contact them, such as by phone, email, social media, and/ or live chat?
- Is their call center open 24/7 to customer needs and technical support?
- Do they respond promptly to your calls/ emails/ chats?
- Are the options they offer customized or are they uniform to fit the needs of all customers?
- Is a money-back guarantee offered in case you don't want/ like the service? A money-back guarantee makes customers more likely to try a service.
Free Internet Phone Service Options
While we can't speak of the legitimacy of free VoIP offers, affordable VoIP services are plentiful.
- On the positive side, one thing most people who use VoIP services know and love about it is that it is incredibly affordable
- Generally, most residential users find it to be cheaper than a landline
- First-year discounts are very common in the industry
- Most VoIP companies offer free setup/ and or activation
- Many of the best companies offer a 3-day money back guarantee
- For international calling, it is the most affordable option
- Many different plans and features exist, making it a very customizable service that can add value to your life
Home VoIP Service & Business VoIP Systems
There are two major types of VoIP telephone service: the residential VoIP telephone service and the business VoIP telephone service. Many businesses of all sizes, even medium-sized businesses, use VoIP phone systems to conduct their daily affairs. Organizations would benefit most from business VoIP providers. Examples of business VoIP providers are Vonage Business and Google Voice for Business. Businesses also should be taking advantage of SIP trunking. SIP trunking, which saves money on long-distance call service and simplifies an organization's telecommunications, is a direct connection between the organization and the ITSP. Basically, it allows you to extend VoIP beyond your organization's firewall without the need for an IP-PSTN gateway.
What's also important to mention is that businesses also rely on a PBX system or Private Branch Exchange. The PBX is a private telephone network that is used within the organization and may feature a host PBX, or host VoIP. A host PBX/ host VoIP is a service where the VoIP service and PBX features are hosted at the service provider location rather than on-site. With a host PBX, the organization users are able to connect from the network to the provider, saving users the hassle of ongoing maintenance and training of a traditional PBX. The PBX provider takes care of everything so the organization doesn't have to do the work.
VoIP Service Can be a Great Alternative to Traditional Landline
The VoIP system simplifies the concept of having a home phone line, and it does so with a wide range of modern conveniences. If you make international calls regularly or want to streamline your phone service away from the burden of a traditional landline, a VoIP phone may be the ideal method for you. Significantly less costly than a standard landline, for home phone service, VoIP has become a fantastic option. I suggest going with a brand that has a great reputation and offers a great price for the services you need.
Whether you're looking to make international calls, or just want unlimited North American calling, working with the best VoIP providers can make having a home phone much more convenient and cost effective.
Compare the Best VoIP Services
I've done the research to offer all the details on finding the best VoIP phone. There are quite a few VoIP companies out there, however, it is wise to do your research before committing to any of them. There are even Internet providers that will offer VoIP services alongside their general home phone offerings. Take, for instance, AT&T's U-verse Voice, which is offered alongside AT&T Phone. U-verse Voice includes a plethora of advanced calling features and when you combine U-verse Voice with U-verse TV, you'll receive two additional features: Call History and Click to Call.
Some brands are very well-known, and these are the ones with generally the best reputations. In the following section, I will break down the top five companies, who I have rated based on their excellence of service, commitment to their customers, and how well they please their customers with available services.
Given the value, convenience and flexibility that VoIP service offers consumers, it is important to select the right plan and provider for your needs. You can then make the most of utilizing this innovative, practical technology and cut the cost of your communication.
In my in-depth look at the best VoIP providers, along with the VoIP brand comparisons, I hope you have gotten a better idea about what companies out there are offering, and what you should expect from a company providing VoIP services. You're probably already interested in ways you can save money on your cell phone bill and VoIP can be a highly affordable, economical option.
VoIP phone is an excellent option for phone service because you most likely already have service from one of the best Internet providers. VoIP offers some of the best, and most modern features available for communication. And because of its incredible affordability, it makes complete sense why so many millions of people have opted for this service instead of a traditional landline.
While VoIP is a service which sends voice data through the Internet, some devices also offer a means to call others over a WiFi connection. While similar in practice to VoIP services, WiFi calling does not use data and, in some places, is completely free. To find out how to enable WiFi calling, check out our step-by-step guide.