The Cost of VoIP

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VoIP has a reputation as a cheap alternative to using a regular telephone. The cost of VoIP, though, can vary a great deal depending on the type of service.

Why Is VoIP Sometimes Cheaper?

Unlike regular telephone companies, VoIP is free from government regulation. This means providers have more freedom and some costs can be saved.

The cost of VoIP calls is often free. Customers pay for a service but they may be entitled to make an unlimited number of calls for their money. This, though, does depend on the provider and the package chosen. With some providers VoIP is completely free; customers pay for internet access and must have the appropriate equipment but the actual calls are free. Assuming that customers would have internet access already, there are no associated costs with leasing a telephone line the way it is when using a regular telephone.

Set Up Costs

For some VoIP services there are no real set up costs. Free software can be downloaded from the internet and installed onto a computer. Once this is installed it is ready to go. This is not the case for advanced VoIP services, for example those that are generally used for business VoIP. You may have several phones and they all need to be integrated into one system so they can use features such as call forwarding. An answer phone service may also need to be set up. The set up costs can vary a lot depending on the specific services required.


Payment

With VoIP, customers are paying for a service, not the actual calls. Call charges may be applied, but this is really used as a way of funding the service, with charging for calls the system used to determine how much customers should pay. As the signal travels over the internet the calls may not cost the VoIP provider anything, but it is the other associated costs that need to be paid for.

The Better the Service, the Higher the Price

Just like in any industry, you get what you pay for. The better VoIP services cost more than the basic, poor quality services. If a service is more advanced it costs the provider more, and these need to be passed onto customers.

The Type of VoIP Service Required

If you don’t require an advanced service, there is little point in paying for one. Some people only want to be able to achieve cheap personal calls, without the need for extra services. The call quality may not even be particularly important, as long as the two people on either end can make out what each other are saying. For those who just want a cheap way of calling friends and family, cheap or free software that can be downloaded from the internet may suffice.


Others might need business VoIP. Good call quality is likely to be needed as it would seem unprofessional otherwise. Other feature such as call forwarding and answer phones may also be a necessity. Several phones might be needed – one for each desk perhaps – with them integrated into one system with one number. It may be that more than one number is required or extensions are needed so specific employees can be reached directly. This all costs more, but for many businesses it is worth it and can still be more cost effective than regular telephone services.

Andrew Marshall (c)

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