Choosing a voip provider for your home points to consider

Choosing a VOIP Provider For Your Home: Points to Consider

If you’re ready to try VoIP for your home, there are several points worth thinking about before you choose your VoIP provider. That way you can be sure you pick the set up that’s right for your family’s needs and your particular set-up.
Do you already have broadband?
You need broadband at home in order to be able to make phone calls using VoIP technology. It’s a good idea to make sure you know whether it’s cable (such as Virgin) or ADSL (such as BT), as this may affect your options.
Do you want to make calls from your PC? Or from a regular telephone?
You can make free PC-to-PC calls if you use a VoIP provider such as Skype. This might be just right for you, as long as you don’t mind being tied to your computer. The person you’re calling must also have broadband, must also have signed up to the same provider, and must also be at their computer. This set-up suits many people. You can also make calls from your PC to other people’s phones, but you will be charged for these.

And you will still have to be sitting at your computer, of course.
Alternatively, you can choose to make VoIP calls using your existing telephone (phone-to-phone). This is simply a matter of connecting your telephone to your computer, using an adaptor that the VoIP provider will send to you. This kind of service is not free — you usually pay a low monthly subscription. What you typically get in return is unlimited anytime calls to landlines in countries listed in the call plan you’ve chosen.
Which VoIP providers are popular and reliable?
The chances are that broadband telephony will become the way we all make telephone calls. VoIP has been around for a while, but it’s only recently that it’s started to become mainstream. So you want to be sure that your provider is reliable and experienced. Take a look at customer reviews and feedback, as these will often tell you a lot about the provider.
What is the customer service and technical support like?
Find out whether you can get help and support, from a real person, 24/7. Do you have to pay for this, should you need it?
What call plans do the VoIP providers offer?
Think about the calls you and your family need to make. Are they mostly to UK landlines? Do you regularly call other countries? Or are most of your calls to family and friends in the US and Canada, or in India? Check that the VoIP provider offers a call plan that suits your calling habits.
What about calls to countries outside your call plan?
There’s no point paying for a call plan that includes a ton of countries you rarely call. Check the VoIP providers international call rates. These are usually pretty competitive, so you may be better off going for a call plan that covers the countries you call most frequently, and then paying for the occasional call outside that separately.
What’s your budget?
When you make phone calls the traditional way, using a landline, you pay for the landline rental itself, plus the cost of any calls you make, usually by the minute. This means that people rarely know what their bill is going to be. VoIP providers work very differently. Once you’ve signed up for a particular call plan, you can make unlimited calls to landlines in that plan. No nasty bill surprises: you know exactly what your bill will be, as long as you stick to the destinations in your plan.

And that helps with household budgeting, of course.
Are there any hidden costs?
Check what else you may be expected to pay for. Look, for example, for set-up fees, administration fees, cancellation fees/policy, refunds policy, equipment costs etc. Does the VoIP provider try to hide these? Or are they clearly spelled out, which suggests that the provider is committed to transparency?
Do you want VoIP as your only line? Or do you want a second home line?
If you’ve got cable, such as Virgin, then you can cancel your Virgin phone line without losing your broadband connection. That is, you stop paying cable line rental and simply start making all your calls via your new VoIP phone service, using your existing broadband connection. If you’ve got ADSL broadband (such as BT), then you won’t be able to cancel your phone line, because it would terminate your broadband connection. You can still, though, enjoy substantial savings by setting up a second line with a VoIP provider and use that to make most of your calls.
What features do you need?
Does the VoIP provider offer all the features you need? Think about facilities such as caller ID, call waiting, voicemail, 3-way calling, ringback etc.
Can you transfer (also known as port) your number if you want?
Will the VoIP provider allow you to keep your original telephone number? How does this process work?
Can you choose a dialling code that’s local to you?
If you decide to go for a new number, or a second line, can you choose an appropriate dialling code?
What if your broadband goes down?
Be aware that if your broadband connection is lost, however temporarily, you won’t be able to make VoIP calls during that period. Think about what your back-up would be, particularly if you needed to make emergency calls, or someone was trying to contact you. Have you got a mobile?
If you’ve considered all these points, you’re ready to go ahead, choose a VoIP provider and start saving money by making calls through your home broadband.

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