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Slash the phone bill with VoIP 13 Nov 2019

VoIP offers benefits not available on the normal telephone system. One of them is an ability to convert a message to an email. If you check your messages regularly during the day, this can be very handy.

The phone bills keep coming in regularly, and like all bills, you wonder if technology can help you cut your costs.

You might have heard of VoIP, an acronym for voice over internet protocol. It’s a technical term for phone calls via the internet. But it’s a lot more, too.

So is it worth investigating as an option to replace your old phone line, is it as cheap or “free” like they say, and has the technology developed enough to make it worth taking up now?

The answer is probably yes to all. But before you move to adopt it yourself, here’s some information that might help you make a decision.

VoIP is certainly great technology. It’s been described as the most successful of the past decade. So it’s well advanced and there are plenty of providers keen to hook you up.

There are three ways of hooking up to VoIP:

1  Computer to computer or smartphone to smart phone. This only works where both people are using the same service. It can be free.

2  Attaching an analogue telephone adapter to a standard phone.

3  Throwing out your old telephones and buying IP phones.

To give you an idea of savings, a small business transferred the phones at home and at work to VoIP. The first thing that happened was the owner was able to get rid of a telephone line because the VoIP system could take inwards and outward calls at the same time. He then only needed internet for home and work costing $148 inclusive of GST, plus his monthly fee to the VoIP provider of $25 plus a little more if he made too many telephone calls in the month.

It is working out at about $30 a month GST inclusive.

That’s $178 a month compared with almost $300 previously. On a cost basis only, VoIP has to be worth considering.

In this case the customer bought new telephones. He needed two base stations and a couple of extensions as a minimum, but he decided to add a few more for convenience, costing a total of about $1000. As you can see, he recovers this money well within one year.

One small problem. He bought both corded phones and cordless phones. If you buy a corded phone you have to be able to connect it to the internet, which is not just a case of plugging it into a jack point. This might cost more to sort out than choosing the slightly more expensive cordless phone. His supplier agreed to a swap and payment of the difference in price.

VoIP offers benefits not available on the normal telephone system. One of them is an ability to convert a message to an email. If you look at your messages regularly during the day, this can be very handy. How often do you forget to see if any messages have been left on your phone? In addition, you don’t have to put up with the telcos’ verbal diarrhoea before you can access your message when you use VoIP. You get it instantly. Think of the advantage if you go on holiday of being able to get your telephone messages on the internet.

You can redirect calls much more easily using VoIP. For example, suppose you have a small office with just a secretary. You can access the office telephone system from your home. This means if the office is closed you can redirect calls either to your home or to your cell phone without having to go anywhere near work.

The switchover was almost seamless. The only thing which went wrong is that the telco insisted on making the switchover in the morning instead of late afternoon as arranged.

And what about clarity? It’s brilliant according to this user.

Suppliers have their various contract terms. For this customer, there’s no ongoing contract. He’s free to change suppliers at any time.

Communication with employees on the road is easy and talking to family overseas is cheap – and fun. That’s because VoIP allows you to also share messages and make video calls in real time, with multiple people.

One of the downsides is privacy and security, which can still be a factor. Like many advances, privacy often comes after the technology, so there’s probably still work to be done.

The best advice is to do your research on VoIP. Talk to other users and the experts. It’s likely that VoIP will totally replace the old phone service within the next 10 years, so now seems a good time to adopt it.

If you are removing your landline and retaining Internet, we have heard some providers might ask for a month’s notice of the change. It seems this helps to get the billing right.

 

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