VoIP Service Providers
Some people are discouraged from signing up to a VoIP package because they do not want to use a headset when making a call. They already have a phone at home - why should they buy extra equipment which must be plugged into their computer.
There is an option available where you can use your current telephone equipment (eg. digital cordless phone) but still connect via the internet thus saving money on your calls. There are providers who offer a service where there is no software to download, no headsets are necessary, and you do not have to be in the same room as your computer all the time you are on the phone. You still need a broadband connection, modem and a special piece of equipment called a
Terminal adapter (ATA) or
VOIP Phone Adapter which will allow users to hook up to a traditional phone which will allow you to start saving money on your calls straight away. Details about VoIP Phones and
VOIP Phone Adapter can be found in our VoIP Equipment section.
One of the providers of this type of VoIP is Vonage (www.vonage.co.uk). They ask for a small monthly fee (Residential plan costs £7.99 whereas the Small Business plan costs £18.99 per month) and then offer cheap phone calls with a lot of facilities you would normally expect to pay for. Many of this type of VoIP provider include services such as:
- Caller Display
- Call Waiting
- Call Diversion
- 3-way Calling
- Call Barring
- Call Transfer
With a normal landline provider these services would most likely incur an extra, though small, monthly cost. However, these services come as standard with many of the VoIP packages.
Because of the nature of VoIP calls (ie they are transmitted via the internet worldwide) many providers offer Virtual Numbers. This allows you to choose your own area code to match your requirements. An example would be an American who has moved to the UK, but has most of his friend still in the States, could choose an area code in the US. When his friends call him they appear to be ringing a local number, thus saving them a lot of money on international calls. This can work the opposite as his new friends in the UK would appear to be ringing the States, this costing them more money. This service is not just for international calls, but can be use for national calls as well.
If you are travelling but still need access to your main phone number, take the equipment provided by your service provider with you, plug it into a broadband connection and you are ready to receive your calls as it you were at home.
As you can see, even though most people view VoIP as a computer to computer connection, it is also possible to keep your current telephone, purchase an adaptor, and make calls without realising that you are using the internet.