Switching to a new phone service can sometimes be a challenge, as you have to get used to a new service provider. It may appear that this is especially true with VoIP services because you not only have to find a new service, but you may also be intimidated by the technology change. Its relative newness compared to old-fashioned telephone service and its requirement that you have a reliable Internet connection are two big factors that can scare people off. Still, there are lots of people switching to VoIP and learning just how easy and convenient it can be. If you’re on the fence, here are four common VoIP myths that should definitely not keep you away from using VoIP.
VoIP is only for businesses
Because of the perceived level of expertise potential customers may assume VoIP requires, sometimes VoIP technology is seen as something that’s exclusively for businesses. The reality is there are dedicated VoIP solutions tailored for the average household, as VoIP services often distinguish their business VoIP offerings from their home and residential offerings. Essentially, VoIP can be adapted to anyone’s needs. Many of the services we review, such as Vonage, Broadvoice and 1-VoIP excel at providing both home and business VoIP services, which means they’re perfect options if you’re looking for a basic home service, or if you’re someone running a business from your home. Interested in seeing what VoIP can offer to businesses of any size? Read our business VoIP reviews.
VoIP is too expensive
Because of the new technology aspect, some potential VoIP customers perceive VoIP to be an expensive service. They imagine having to overhaul their entire home to prepare for VoIP and then buying the specific phones and devices that they’ll be using. While VoIP providers do require specific equipment to be used, it’s usually either included free with your service or offered at a reduced, one-time cost which won’t factor into your regular monthly phone bill. As for monthly pricing, many services are between $6 and $20 for unlimited monthly calling. A good example of this is Broadvoice, which requires a $19.95 shipping and handling fee for its VoIP adapter, but the monthly service prices are as low as $8.33/month (with a one-year commitment) for unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada, making the upfront cost a good investment.
Higher-end international packages can cost a bit more, anywhere between $15/month and $30/month, depending on the service, but they’re still comparatively more cost effective than traditional home phone services because of the sheer number of features they offer. For example, Vonage, one of the top-rated VoIP providers we review, offers unlimited calling to the U.S. and 60+ other countries for $9.99/month for the first six months, then $27.99/month afterwards, and includes features like call waiting and three-way calling. Finally, many services offer limited-time money-back guarantees so you can test them out without risking too much.
VoIP is too technical
As mentioned above, most VoIP services do require special equipment which must be either given to you or purchased. However, new equipment doesn’t always mean that you’ll need to learn how to use a complicated new piece of technology. In most cases, setup is really simple: VoIP uses what is known as an analogue telephone adapter, usually just referred to as an adapter, which is a device you simply plug into your router. After that, just plug your landline phone into the adapter and you’re good to go. Some services let you use your own adapter, but in many cases, you’ll be provided with an adapter for free or have the option to purchase one. VoIPo, another top-ranked service, ships a free adapter, has no setup costs and is a mere $6.21/month with a two-year commitment or $15/month for a month-to-month plan. Some providers — usually the ones offering business services — might require you to get a VoIP-compatible phone, which is comparatively just as easy to set up as VoIP with an adapter.
Many VoIP services also offer software that can complement your phone service; simply install an app onto your computer or phone and use it when your device is on a Wi-Fi network. Most of our reviewed services, including VoIPo, Vonage and Ooma, have companion apps that allow you to use VoIP features on your smartphone. The simplicity of setup as well as companion apps for your smartphone make using VoIP a breeze for just about anyone, and most VoIP services have dedicated customer service to walk you through any snags.
VoIP is incompatible with my Internet connection
In some cases, this is true — like when an individual has satellite Internet or dial-up Internet. Due to the instability of these connections, VoIP is not usually an option. However, according to the Pew Research Center, nearly 70% of Americans have broadband Internet, which is more than capable of handling VoIP, so the vast majority of Americans can probably reliably utilize VoIP services. It’s important to note that your quality of service with VoIP will partly come down to the quality of your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If your ISP drops service frequently or has bandwidth caps, you might not be getting your advertised networking speeds, which can mean reduced call quality with VoIP. Too much Internet activity occurring at a given time can also have an impact, so keep that in mind if your household is home to avid gamers or video streaming junkies.
To learn more about VoIP and how to get the most out of it, keep reading our VoIP blog. If you’re interested in taking the plunge and cutting the traditional phone cord, have a look at our VoIP reviews where we pit the most popular services head-to-head.