Compared to conventional telephone services, VoIP services will lower your telephone bill significantly. And most service providers offer service features similar to traditional services features, such as caller ID, call waiting, call blocking, call transferring, speed dialing, 3-way calling, etc.
Even though the demand for VoIP telephone service continues to soar, the entry of new VoIP service providers continues to generate fierce competition, leading VoIP vendors to offer extraordinary service packages at surprisingly low rates.
That said, plans vary substantially from one service provider to the next. It pays to compare what they offer and read the fine print.
Key areas to examine include:
1. Cost effectiveness: Check out the calling plans offered for long distance and international dialing. Is there free international calling – to a significant number of countries? In addition to the basic plan, what will the optional features you’re looking for cost? Make sure to calculate how much plans for each service provider will cost for a full 12 months because the lowest start up costs often lead to highest yearly costs. Finally, check to see if you have to purchase special equipment or can use equipment you already have.
2. Value-added features without cost: See how many value-added features each VoIP service provider offers you without cost? These may include caller ID, call waiting, call blocking, call transferring, speed-dialing, call forwarding, 3-way calling, and other key features. Some VoIP providers offer many more features than others.
3. Free trial periods: Does the service provider offer a free trial period? A free trial period allows you to see how easy the system is to use, how well your connections sound, and how fast technical support responds. It’s best if your free trial does not involve purchasing special equipment, so you avoid the cost of having to ship it back – not to mention the problems that can arise when return deadlines for the equipment may differ from the free trial period for using the service.
4. Technical support: Find out what kind of technical or customer support service is offered by each VoIP provider. Can you contact them live? Are they available for a reasonable number of hours? Are there any reviews that indicate how effectively they respond?
A good look at these key areas will help you make an informed choice.
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