Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone services are growing in popularity throughout the United States. Long thought to only be a benefit for businesses, even homeowners are finding VoIP service to be less expensive and more reliable than landline phones. The service has grown to such a level that some states are considering, while others have already passed, legislation eliminating the requirement for phone companies to offer landline services due to the many benefits VoIP services offer.
One benefit of VoIP phones over landline phones is the many additional features available. VoIP phones use the internet rather than public switched (PSTN) phone services, which use circuit-switched networks over traditional wiring. Because VoIP phone services are internet based, they can offer additional features such as call forwarding and voice mail. Although some landline phone services offer similar features, with VoIP phone service, voice mail can be converted to e-mail messages, allowing users to access them wherever internet is available. Video conferencing is another benefit of VoIP services, connecting clients, employees or family members no matter where they are in the world.
Because the system uses the internet, phone calls are as cheap as sending an e-mail. This allows providers to offer unlimited nationwide calling, eliminating long distance and roaming fees. Many even offer lower cost international plans as well. For many consumers whose friends or relatives live far away, a VoIP line allows them to connect at far cheaper rates than traditional phone lines.
One of the biggest benefits to VoIP lines is that they are portable. Businesses or individuals can move the phone system anywhere, keeping the same phone number. It is an excellent option for companies with telecommuting employees as the business phone can be placed in the employee’s home at no additional cost to the company. The service can even be installed on a mobile device for added convenience.
Although there is resistance to eliminating landlines completely, as there are some drawbacks to VoIP phone systems, it appears that use of the devices will continue to grow over the next few years. With less expensive service, more flexibility and the additional features available through VoIP services, companies and individuals may want to learn more about the service to determine if switching from traditional phone service to VoIP services is right for their needs.