If you have loved ones who live in another country, you are probably very familiar with the outrageous high costs of international long distance phone calls. Some families have been paying thousands of dollars each month just to stay in touch with their loved ones overseas. The new advances in VoIP phone technology are turning out to be a lifesaver for them.
A VoIP phone is connected through the internet with the use of your computer or laptop instead of a standard phone that is plugged into a phone jack on the wall. The cost to use this technology each month is astronomically cheaper than a standard land line or cell phone. VoIP phone usage is charged at a monthly fee for unlimited usage where as a land line or cell phone service provider will charge a per minute fee.
Right now Vongage and Skype are the most popular VoIP providers. Vonage will provide you with flat monthly rates for unlimited usage anywhere in the United States and people in Europe can get skype too for a low monthly fee. Skype offers a flat rate fee too. Commcast is now catching onto the VoIP phone craze too and is trying to compete with Vonage. Yahoo is offering it too. In fact, Yahoo VoIP phone service costs less than $3 a month and you can receive unlimited calls. However, if you make outgoing calls, the price is 1 cent per minute when you call out.
One new type of VoIP phone service is called the Magic Jack. For the unbelievably low price of less than $40 a year, you can make and receive unlimited long distance and local phone calls to your hearts content.
Skype VoIP phone plans offer a pay as you go plan or you can get a monthly subscription for $2.95 a month. If you get a subscription, you will also get features such as voicemail, call forwarding, and caller ID and if you pay the annual fee of $60, your family can call your from their landline or cell phones too.
VoIP phone technology has advanced to the point now that there is virtually no difference to the sound quality of your phone conversations and you probably will not even know you are talking to someone who is using VoIP phone technology, rather than a land line.
You do need a computer and access to high speed internet to use a VoIP phone service. This is the only drawback to them. These days, it is well worth the money to invest in a computer and high speed internet if you have long distance relatives. The cost you will save on international calls will virtually pay for you to use your VoIP phone and then some. If you decide to go this route for your long distance international phone calls, you should know that they can not be done by using dial-up. Your high speed connection will have to be one that uses an Ethernet cord to connect to the modem and you need a free USB port to plug it into.
There are some limitations to the VoIP phone technology. For example, if the power goes out, you will not be able to use your VoIP phone. You can’t call 911 either if you are using Skype. On the other hand, you are able to make 911 emergency calls if you have Magic Jack VoIP phone service. Carefully check all of your options and features as well as the costs that go along with using the VoIP phone service you choose to make sure you have made the best choice for your needs.